I promise I will not start this post with some variation on “guys I’m so busy I’m sorry I’m not posting more.” You know the drill.
A couple highlights from last weekend, to start out with (which includes Monday, because Tuesday is the new Monday for me). On Friday I finally got my ass to the gym, which felt amazing. Saturday, I went out dancing with my friend from the house, Brittany. Note to the bars: if you get too preoccupied with only letting hot girls in, you may begin to notice a distinct lack of any males at all. Sunday night, a bunch of us from the house watched a copy of Black Swan that one of the NYAP staff members had been given I think as a part of a SAG awards panel (? not sure). That movie is insane. I enjoyed being able to watch it with other people who are artistically inclined, because we were all eager to sit around afterwards and talk about it.
Monday got off to a slow start: a LOT of laundry, considering it was the first time I’ve done laundry and I have now been here for two and a half weeks. That night I went to a reading for BOMB magazine, the publication where Brittany interns. Bomb is primarily dedicated to interviews, mainly what they term “artist on artist” conversations. In the middle of the magazine, there’s a literary supplement called “First Proofs,” containing poetry and short fiction (that’s what Brittany does…she said sometimes she’ll get to read submissions!). I loved the atmosphere. The reading was located in an adjoining sit-down restaurant space in a bar, so we sat at a table and ordered sweet potato fries before the reading. Both the reading and the fries did not disappoint. I was interested to see what would be shared at this event, considering the magazine is so focused on the visual arts. Luckily (for me, at least), it turned out to be a reading entirely of poetry. The readers (Justin Taylor, Dorothea Lasky, Ben Mirov and Luke Degnan) were all quirky, and refreshingly different from each other. I especially liked a certain project of Taylor’s. He explained to us that he’s a professor at Rutgers, where freshman go through a rigorous process to practice their compositional skills. In order to make reading so many freshman comp papers more interesting, Taylor pieced together lines and words to create a collage of found poetry. I can’t get enough of found poetry. It’s amazing what can be there, living in the words, without you even knowing. The process of creating a found poem is not unlike writing a regular poem, in that the poem seems to organically guide itself into being.
After the reading, a group of us headed down the street to a comedy club called “The Upright Citizens Brigade,” where a stand-up show takes place every Monday night at 11:00 pm. You have to reserve tickets online before going, but they’re completely free. A couple of the acts were just coming off of Comedy Central’s Last Comic Standing tour…so these people are legit! Hilarious. Good stand-up has the side-effect of making my face hurt from smiling so much.
In other news: my roommate, Lydia, went to her first professional audition yesterday, for touring companies of The Little Mermaid and Grease. She said there were two hundred fifty women there! The pool was pared down quickly by the first dance cut…which Lydia made! So exciting. She’s waiting to hear about a reading audition on Saturday.
Yesterday, we had a faculty seminar with Andrea Scott, art editor of The New Yorker. She’s a vivacious, witty, personable woman…I can see how she became so successful. Mostly the talk was blah blah blah visual art blah, which is sometimes a little frustrating. They say all these names I’m apparently supposed to know, but I don’t. I imagine it’s how the visual artists would feel if we inserted them into a conversation about poetry at Poets House. I ended up making the most of our time with her by asking about her experience with writing criticism, instead. I asked her how she deals with telling the truth without worrying about offending people. The gist of her answer was extremely valuable: criticism needs to be allowed to be critical, but never mix up the person with their work. Which, I admit, I probably did in my previous posts regarding Christian Bok. I won’t apologize for that…but I will keep it in mind in case I someday write a widely read book, or write for a magazine like The New Yorker. She urged: “your goal is to be a critic, your agenda is not necessarily to entertain your reader.” I want you guys to be entertained…but, for future reference, I’ll refrain from the snarky remarks in my “criticism.”
I have been severely lacking in groceries lately, so last night I went to CVS to tide me over until I have time to go to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods over the weekend. I got a cab back to the house, which Lydia teased me about due to the fact that the house is only a few blocks down from CVS. Whatever…five dollars well spent in order to avoid lugging a ton of food, two cartons of orange juice, and a bunch of bottled waters back home. I was dropped off right in front of the gigantic ice mountain in front of the curb, and therefore had to scale it in order to get to the sidewalk. I may or may not have epically fallen…but I’m pretty sure nobody saw, and my groceries were fully intact. It turned out to be a good move to hail a cab, considering a ton of the bags broke upon entering the house. That orange juice was hard-won, damn it.
PS: Today’s quote of the day: “Don’t be bored with yourself…go on a safari!” (As stated by the lovely Victoria, another Poets House intern)