Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Getting Dodge-y

Yes, they eventually posted the Dodge schedule. Yes, I did get there. No, I haven't anywhere near enough time to properly do it justice. That will come in pieces as I find time to rediscover my notes.

  • Anne Waldman: "Larger than Life" is an understatement. Truly thoughtful of questions during her "On Poetry" talk. Seemed genuinely pleased to hear that poetry continues at Stevens, where she once taught.
  • Sekou Sundiata: This man has some pipes. Specifically and emphatically said: I'm not a spoken word artist, I'm a poet." and made clear the difference. Didn't get to hear him with his band, which is a great loss for me. The CD is terrific, though.
  • Andrew Motion: Exudes humility like perspiration. Amplified by his London countryside accent, reads his formal verse in a way that creates the structure in your ear - a little stilted at the line breaks, but not enough to distract you from listening. If he wasn't genuinely grateful that I knew a little about his internet project before his reading, I'm the worst judge of people ever. Almost popped with excitement when talking about Bob Dylan.
  • Coleman Barks: You can tell the grandfather poems from the Rumi, but you cannot distinguish the levels of joy in his presentation. Just when you think The Paul Winter Consort has become a little predictable, Barks turns to them and says "How about a little circus music?"
  • Linda Pastan: Kept saying she'd "rather read poems than talk about making them", but spoke eloquently about the details of their construction. Two very interesting exercises: one she read a poem in third person, then in first person, and led a 6 minute discussion about which was better - the other, she read a Justice poem with a small stanza at the start, in the middle, and at the end to see where "it wanted to be". Great stuff.
  • Jorie Graham: I could not physically write fast enough to keep up with everything she was saying that was noteworthy. Talked for a long time (it was a panel discussion), but not much of it was wasted.

Other notes:

  • Too many terrific poets scheduled opposite each other at the ONE festival poets slot. I have generally loved the way the last several schedules have been laid out, but this didn't work for me. Mr. Haba, if you happen to be reading this, give us more opportunity to hear these "other" poets - some of them are more interesting than your features.
  • It was brutally cold in the morning inside the big top and uncomfortably warm in the afternoon (in spots in the path of the stage lights aimed at the audience). This may be why no one enforced the "no coffee in the tent" rule in the mornings.
  • Return to Waterloo Village seemed appreciated by most, and I have to say I did think things were laid out pretty well this year.
  • You could get a near-raw hamburger and a vegan chili at the same stand. Three cheers for that!
  • I took an hour off during the Saturday afternoon features. As much as I enjoy Lucille Clifton, I may have gotten more from that walk along the canal. You have to leave time for the words sink in, too.

It'll take me a month to sort through everything I want to process from my notebook. As the flotsam strikes me, so shall it appear here.

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