Thurs., Jan 31, late afternoon

Running off to the CLMP and SPD publisher party, but here's a few more faces from today:

(Above, poet & teacher Tonya Foster & my own self, looking a bit dazed)

(Our fashion-forward exec. director and the ever-charming Karen Gisonny of the NY Public library)

Yikes, lookit the time, must run--


Thurs., Jan 31, afternoon

The parade of faces begins, many new, many familiar. Here's just a few (we can't possibly get everyone, and apologies also if i misspell any names, or get them wrong entirely. This is Live!). LOTS of traffic around our booth, although other publishers in other "halls" report less active passersby.

(Above, Amy Catanzano of Naropa)

(Above, Lawrence Schimel, of new SPD Press A Midsummer Night's Press)

(Above, Eric Lorberer of Rain Taxi. Later I learned there was a fierce argument at the bars as to whether the color of his shirt was salmon, watermelon, or cranberry.)

(Above, Laura talks to Joan Retallack.)

(Above, Michael Marcinkowski, the Web Producer for the Poetry Foundation, and only poet at the show taller than I am. At nearly 6 foot 9, I believe he is taller than Kit Robinson, whom I had previously suspected to be the tallest poet in America.)

(Above, Jessica Smith, blogger & writer & publisher & new NY resident.)

This is a very small sampling, but maybe it give an idea what being at a table at a literary bookfair is like (although WHY anyone would want to know that is its own curious question). There's a lot of talking, a lot of meeting people, a lot of quietly looking down at the badge of someone whose name you probably SHOULD know. But more importantly, there's also been a lot of selling of books so far, and it's really lovely to see the enthusiasm for the titles.

Last, reaching for the heights of self-reflexivity, here is an image of your inveterate cub blogger even whilst he blogs upon blogger rather than lunching:


Thurs., Jan 31, morning

Laura here. Took the Jetblue poet express yesterday to NY. About half the plane was poets. Lost of berets (no kidding) and other odd literary outfits. Sat in front of Albert Flynn DeSilver (Owl Press, among many other hats) and behind Clay Banes (buyer for Pegasus books) and SPD volunteer & writer & former Kitchen Sink editor Kaya Oakes with whom I shared a cab into town. Sunny in NY today but we won’t be out in it. Reported into the exhibits at 8:30. Brent talking to poets this minute. Look! Jaimie Robles borrow one of our chairs.


Wed, Jan 30, later evening

With Laura arriving this evening, I went off to really the only offical "meeting" I'll attend here, for LitNet. Jim Sitter does vital work representing the interests of literary orgs "on the Hill" as he says and to the NEA generally. Would no doubt be dry stuff to some, but he's done a lot to help or maintain the NEA budget for grants to literary orgs like SPD over the past decade, and I found it very interesting. Maybe I'm a wonk?

(At the head of the table & head of Litnet, above, from l to r: Elliot Figman, of Poets & Writers, Jim Sitter in the middle, and David Fenza, who is the head of the AWP & thus running this entire circus.)

Then off to more directly poetical endeavors, a reading at St. Mark's by Dan Machlin and Jen Hofer. Dan's book is on Ugly Duckling ("my publishers") and he also runs Futurepoem and so will be at the show tomorrow. Jen's from the Bay Area but now teaching in LA, great translator of many a younger female mexican poet of late. Great readings, as expected.

Afterward to the Telephone Bar, apparently one of two traditional after-St. Mark's-readings bars, & talked to too many poets to number here (I'm also running off to the bookfair as I post this, & realizing how impossibe it'll be to keep any kind of tally of everyone I'm running into). But those I remembered to photograph were:

(Above, Julian Brolaski, former SPD intern & now NYer, and Michael Nicoloff, former NYer & now a consistent SPD volunteer -- he'll be at the booth saturday helping sell books.)

(Above, the fabulous Alana Wilcox, editor-in-chief of the also-fabulous Coach House Books up in Toronto, SPD publishers, and seller of 20 thousand copies, as she told me last night, of Christian Bok's EUNOIA. Possibly some kind of record for a book of constraint-based experimental poetry?)


Wed, Jan 30, 5:45pm

Just spent the day setting up the tables. Here's a BEFORE shot:

Here's the AFTER my heroic labors (they'll clean up more tonight):

Poets everywhere of course...here's Joseph Lease (teacher at CCA) from our coast, and Joshua Beckman (Wave Books) from the opposite one:

The bookfair this year is HUGE. I mean even compared to last year it seems enormous! See the shot of our table above? That's one PART of one room. Here's part of room 2:

And more of Room 2, with lots of tables around the corner you can't see:

And here's ROOM 3:

And MORE of Room 3:

And even MORE of Room 3:

Honestly I'm a little overwhelmed at how giant this thing has gotten. Any single one of these shots would have been the approximate number of total tables there were in Palm Springs the first year I went. It certainly evinces some kind of poetry publishing explosion. I hope some readers & bookbuyers show up the next few days in response.


Tue, Jan29, in the late hours

Returning to the hotel (late) last night, I ran into my old classmate from the Buffalo poetics program, Bill Howe aka William R. Howe. (New York really is like a small town, you run into old friends all the time.) He and his wife L.A. are here with their press Slack Buddha, one of the great press names of all time. Apparently, of late they've been making many a chapbook at a furious pace, and an occasional letterpress chapbooks on their Chandler & Price machine, as well as being engaged as usual in many other projects. I'm looking forward to seeing what they've done.

(Here we see Bill taking an important 2am call, probably from Random House complaining that Slack Buddha is eating into their US sales.)


Tue, Jan 29, 9pm

At the Hilton at last, after a long day's travel:

Here's the view from the window, including some people still working. Go home, people! It's 9pm. Even Zukofsky's father was going home by now.

Tue, Jan 29, in flight

I've selected the excellent new bio of Louis Zukofsky by Mark Scroggins for my in-flight reading. Yes, rather highbrow for an airplane, but seemed appropriate on the way to NY given it's where LZ was born, raised, lived & died. Some engaging details so far about his father, Pinchos Zukofsky: he worked 6am til 9pm pressing pants (laborious work), only retiring at 81 yrs old. 9pm was actually leaving early, too--sometimes he worked til midnight, and ALSO was then their night watchman for awhile. Scroggins does a really nice job painting a picture of lower east side immigrant jewish culture (Pinchos born in a part of Lithuania that's now Belarus) just past the turn of the century.

This book is good, too, to help keep in mind that just because many poets will be in NY, it won't be all of them by a longshot. Many more take Zukofsky's route, who kept generally clear of such semi-professionalized gatherings of poets all his life.


Tue, Jan 29, about 9am

I'm only in the Oakland Airport and have already run into Malcolm Margolin, publisher of Heyday books (an SPD publisher), also heading to the AWP. We have a nice chat: apparently his panel, like SPD's on Jack Spicer, was also turned down, but he's going out anyway. He seems to know everyone else on the plane. Is Jet Blue the airline of choice for literati?


Tue., Jan 29, around 6:30am

Bye-bye, Mina. Daddy needs to go mingle with twenty million poet-types.



Monday, Jan 28, 5:08pm

SPD’s first experiment in “real time” blogging begins! Tomorrow morning I’ll get up somewhere in the highly unusual zone of the 6’s, get myself to the Oakland airport, fly Jet Blue to New York (O sweet coast-to-coast television), and prepare for three days of wall-to-wall poets and fiction writers at the:

As often as we can, Laura and I will check in with brief reports of what it’s like to be in NYC surrounded by 7,000+ creative writers (largely poets, I firmly believe). For the record, we’ve done this before (Palm Springs, Austin, Atlanta) but they tell us this AWP conference will be bigger than in previous years, plus it’ll be in mid-town New York (which apparently is a pretty major city on the east coast). We’ll tell you who we run into, be they famous, semifamous, infamous, antifamous or afamous. The books, the writers, the readings, the parties, the fatigue, the playing bongo drums in the Hilton in our berets, everything that makes AWP so special.