The spillover effect of the AWP grows each year, more and more poets reading off-site. It’s gotten so you can avoid the conference entirely if you want and still have too many choices of venues. Highlights for me included hearing the Belladonna sponsored prose reading, a bold trio of women, Eileen Myles, Vanessa Place, and Bhanu Kapil, at the Hamilton Gallery. Next door to Bridge Streets Books in the swanky, cologne rich Four Seasons Hotel, I was treated to Anselm Berrigan, Cathy Park Hong, Elizabeth Willis, and others. Saturday was capped by my reading alongside Joseph Harrington, Mark McMorris, Rae Armantrout, Sloan Davis, Melody Charles, Grant Jenkins, and Lea Graham, an event hosted by University of Tulsa at Alex Gallery.
What is possible in language with the spread of hybridity? I return to this question regularly to see how the answer shifts with time. Intertextuality as well as planned and aleatory readings by myself or with another continue to get me playing with syntax and the limits of meaning. I leap, sure, glide too, welcoming the collision of intent, attention, and the waves of breath.
A conversation, a construction, an exchange of sounded meaning and silent propulsion, voicing the inexplicable and inescapable, poetry pluralizes the singular and textualizes formlessness.
In Morphs, my collaboratively written book with Grant Jenkins, we emailed a single poem back and forth to each other thirty-five times, a poetic action lasting eighteen months. One instruction propelled the project: change the poem. Morph it. By “Morph 20,” Grant googled each line from my “Morph 19.” Bewildered by the vastly changed lines — we didn’t discuss techniques used until after Morph 36 — I cast the next morph as a faux country song. Below is a clip from our reading at Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia.