Thursday, September 02, 2004

"They don't have all the churches - we have one, too!" -Katha Pollitt

Bob Holman, owner of the Bowery Poetry Club, reads a poem by Allan Ginsberg last night at an anti-war, anti-Bush poetry reading at St. Mark's Church. The church was packed, a line snaking out into the yard. Unfortunately, Grace Paley did not appear, but other powerful readers included Carl Hancock Rux, Eileen Myles, Vijay Seshadri, and Kristin Prevallet. Marie Ponsot named some of her heroes, including Specialist Joseph M. Darby, who first turned over photos from Abu Ghraib. Cornelius Eady read a poem by Juliana Spahr about all the poems that describe the sight of a fleet of ships or an army as the most beautiful sight in the world, but isn't the most beautiful thing really, "the sight of the ones you love, those you've met and those you haven't" - ? Hanan Resnikoff and Judith Malina, feisty and warm organizers of the Living Theatre read a piece together explaining why their theater is returning to NYC: "Because the revolution isn't a movie that was shown in 1968!" - among other reasons. Katha Pollitt read a piece by e.e. cummings and a piece by Bertolt Brecht: "that you'll go down if you don't stand up for yourself - surely, you see that." Laura Elrick described the march on Sunday as having "civic animality," and Sapphire composed a poem entirely of things she read on signs during that march - which was clever but slightly disappointing given how powerful and in-your-face Sapphire can be at her best. W.H. Auden (once a parishioner of St. Mark's), Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, June Jordan, William Blake, and others were summoned to the room in spirit. And Bob Holman summed it up: "The only way we can fight is to use language that contains full imagination." Posted by Hello


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