So I'm back from New York and trying like heck to catch up with everything I left behind for 72 hours, including but not limited to my rosters, my course plans, my marking pens, the textbooks I assigned, and the time and attention my kids are used to getting from me.
When I saw the flying Budweiser eagle over Newark, I got emotional. I always do. My mom and dad used to come and pick me up in Newark when I flew home from college in Iowa (and later points even further West). It was always good to see them, to get in the car and start heading south on Route 1/9, back to the home and backyard where I grew up--to the grey house on Grove Ave. I can recall the sound of each door in that house opening and closing, and yet it is a place I can never return to. Alas, poor Tom Wolfe, I knew it well!
I took a whole bunch of photos, but I can't find the thingie to download them, so for now you will have to wait for the visuals, except this one sent to me by my dear friend Susan Blackwell Ramsey.
Highlights of the post-reading reading/bash:
Seeing and speaking with Susan Blackwell Ramsey after emailing with her for eight years. She was even more witty and smart in person than in my in-box.
Richard Howard's outfit was priceless and included argyle, but especially adored those b& w checkered slip-on shoes. I want a pair--do you think K-Mart might carry them?
John Ashbery had every bit of the how-can-I-possibly-speak-to-him presence I expected. Even more so. I got nowhere near him, and he was gone when I finally mustered up the courage to strike up a conversation (about what? Convex mirrors?!).
Billy Collins had a serious five o-clock shadow thing going on. I got very close to coming up to him and saying "Hey Billy, I so wanted to hate you cuz you're so damn accessible, but then I heard you on a panel at the Dodge in '02, and damn if you weren't articulate, well-spoken, funny, and more than willing to share with us your cheap shots and shortcomings." But then Doug Goetsch led me over to a woman, which led me into a conversation about wedding rings and having to saw mine off when I'm dead.
It was gratifying to meet Molly Peacock and give her the wave and genuflect simultaneously.
Tina Kelley read her poems exquisitely and wore the most beautiful red velvet dress. She glows and floats around like a freaking angel.
Mark Doty has the coolest glasses--black plastic rectangles! He is taller and thinner than I imagined, a tall stalk of a man, kind and generous.
And there was Sandra Beasley, over in front of an open window with a red & green Empire State Building taking up the entire frame. She has the very best eyebrows of any poet living or dead.
(Do I name drop? Very well, I name drop).
More photos soon. Promise.