Above: Kary Wayson, Molly Tenenbaum, Mary Szybist, Jerry Harp, Carolyne Wright, David Wagoner, & Peter Pereria. Not pictured: Pat Hurshell and Sonia Greenberg
Okay, so I'm forgetful. No surprise, then, that I would leave my handy-dandy camera behind as I sped down to Elliott Bay for the PNW Best American do of the decade. Dang, dang, dang, I wish I'd had it, though, cuz then I could be sharing with you some awesome shots of all these wonderful poets reading and gabbing. . . sigh.
But anyway, here we all are, or most of us anyway, and it was a great night of poetry, and it seemed like the cash register was making lots of cash register-y noises (high-pitched receipt sqweaks! from people buying poetry books!), and LeeAnne, the events coordinator, was awesomely enthusiastic and friendly and on top of things, and someone had me sign a copy of my first book, long out of print, which I don't even own a copy of (long story), and someone else asked me to sign way-back issues of Pontoon, Poetry Northwest, and Cranky, and David W. was thrilled because his right eye is working again thanks to cataract surgery, and he got up on stage and reprimanded many past BAP editors for being lazy and not stepping up and reading more than a 1/25 of the 2,000 poetry magazines out there, but instead filling their BAPs with poems from the safe tried and trues (New Yorker, Poetry, The Atlantic, The Paris Review? Not sure, he did not name names) because, essentially, they were afraid. And then he read an amazing poem titled "On Being Asked to Discuss Poetic Theory," one of his four BAP poems, this one selected in 2003 by Yusef Kumunyakaa, about snow falling in the mountains. As he was reading I was thinking yes yes let that snow blanket all the talk about poetics until it's buried so deep we can never dig it out.
And then everyone clapped and we all went home or out to dinner, or like I did, to Quinn's on 10th and Pike, where I hung out with friends who love me enough to pay for my meal, laughed, drank wine, ate a few mussels, a few frites drenched in creme fraiche, and slipped on home unscathed.
Thanks for coming out, everybody! Long live indy bookstores like Elliott Bay Book Co.!