Look, It’s Daisy Fried, or Threepenny Madness at Mc/J

9 Apr

First off, I should say that Daisy Fried is a tall woman.  A very, very, very, very tall woman, with a great halo of dark curls (which her little girl shares – she was there at the reading, sequestered in a corner with Papa).

And she reads like a badass.  Because she is a badass.  I should know, my friend K. (who is a badass in her own right) generously lent me her book My Brother Is Getting Arrested Again, and it was awesome.  Of possibly slightly greater awesomeness was hearing Ms. Fried read her tremendous poem “My Brother Is Getting Arrested Again.”  I’m sad she only read two poems while the non-fiction writers felt free to go on at length about Godart and other such Frenchified stuff.  (I know, I’m a terrible neanderthal when it comes to foreign films.  What can I say?  I like watching things go boom and people’s asses getting kicked, preferably by Milla Jovovich or Jason Statham.)

I guess I should also go back and preface this blog by saying I was at McNally Jackson’s Celebration of Threepenny Review, a literary magazine I would give my right boob to be in, and Ms. Fried, along with other luminaries, was there to read, as a frequent contributor.  A few other folks who I’d never heard of also read, including Ethan Iverson, a well-known jazz pianist, who was noticeably nervous reading and read a great piece about the state of pianos at his gigs.  I never really thought about it much, but pianists clearly can’t drag around their own pianos to concerts all around the country (and in this guy’s case, the world) like guitarists and horn players can, and it was fascinating to hear his take on overcoming the hopelessly out of tune or carelessly unloved pianos he’s encountered in his work.

Mary Gaitskill was the next literary badass to read.  I don’t know her work very well; she comes off as quite intense and not a little intimidating.  She’s also in fabulous shape and could probably kick my ass.

The piece she read from sounded complicated.  There was a longish list of characters she had to enumerate before she began, so I was a little distracted when she started to read, trying to suss out who was who.  But the way she read was almost chilling, with lots of pauses, letting sentences sink in.  Something to think about when considering how I read poems aloud.

The evening was bracketed by poets, Daisy Fried at the beginning and C.K. Williams to close, who, as I now know, is more commonly referred to as “Charlie Williams.”  So much more comfy and welcoming a name.  C.K.  sounds more formal and poetic.

Again, I don’t know his work tremendously well, though I plan to rectify that soon.  He’s a wonderful reader, and his poems have a lyrical quality, with lots of phrases repeating and circling back.  The most fascinating thing to me though, was how he moves his left foot in time to the rhythm of his poem, almost like he’s tapping out the beat (you can just make out his upraised foot if you zoom in on the photo above).  I wish I had written down the name of the poem he read from Wait, his new book.  Something about men’s fascination with the female breast – very entertaining.

Now if the Threepenny Review would just take one of my poems, I’d be in heaven.

Rock on, people.

– Jho

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