Yesterday's reading went well. The bank was packed: there were no chairs left to sit on, and that never happens at poetry readings. People were kind listeners, and responsive. But reading poems about central Maine while standing in bank on the Upper West Side just made me feel so bizarre, like I was performing in a freak show or something. The world of "Ugly Town" was so far away from these listeners. I felt, as I read, that rural poverty was weirdly one-dimensional to them . . . a vision of Tea Party Republicans and fundamentalist preachers and deer rifles and four-wheelers and smelt fishing and clear-cutting: a world of redneck paper dolls. But I live in that place. And they live in a place where Yoko Ono has an apartment around the corner.
Update: I just got an email from one of the other poets at last night's reading, who told me he was worried that his poems weren't dark enough and that people could tell his mouth was dry . . . at which point I started laughing and decided not to delete this silly post. It seems that poets come out of their holes just long enough to feel like idiots, and then dive in again. It's good for you to see us in all our glory.