Friday, May 19, 2006


Book Expo, the Party Report

Last night I went to a dinner organized by the Poetry Foundation to introduce their new web site. Emily Warn, who organized the poetry reading in front of the White House on the first day of poetry readings against the war, February 12, 2003, is the editor of the site and our host. Take a look: they're building a very impressive archive of poetry as well as an on-line magazine of interviews and features about the poets with work in the archive. They'll also be reviewing poetry readings, hosting guest poetry bloggers, and reporting on news (and some gossip, I hope!) from the world of poetry publishing.

The site looks great, but I was disappointed that their first run of features only included one woman and one person of color among 9 poets profiled; since their goal is to promote the breadth and variety of American poetry they'll need to do a better job. (Women and people of color being the majority and everything...) I spoke with the features editor about it, who promised better representation in the future. He also pointed out that the guest bloggers have been a much more diverse bunch, which is great. I hope to do some writing for them in the future, so you know the kinds of poets I'll be profiling!

The social scene was nice; I got to sit next to Ethelbert Miller. He's just back from New Orleans and is still shaken by the devastation. We came up with the idea of a one-year anniversary fundraising reading in September. Stay tuned for details...

Then I dropped Ethelbert on 16th Street so he could take the bus home and headed to Busboys & Poets for a book party put on by Hyperion for Amy Goodman and David Goodman's second book, forthcoming in September. Celebrity sightings: the columnist Maureen Dowd, Medea Benjamin from Code Pink. Probably lots of other folks, but the free wine was flowing - oy. Amy gave a rousing speech about the role that the media is supposed to play in a free society - actually to question and challenge those who rule - then we were entertained by the sweet and funny Andy Borowitz.

David G. is an old friend, so it was lovely to spend a little time with him, after prying him loose from the adoring fans and the publishing and book selling people. (I tried, and failed, to be nice to a woman from the corporate office of Borders.) Also converging there was my friend Edwin Frank, editor of the gorgeous New York Review of Books Classics series. He's staying with me now and in a few minutes we're going to walk up to see the Clover Adams memorial by Saint-Gaudens in Rock Creek Cemetary here in beautiful Petworth. I hope to get into the actual convention center today. I'll let you know!

Maureen Dowd was at that Party? I didn't see her - too bad - I would have asked her talk a little sense into Tom Friedman. Of course, I probably didn't see her because I couldn't take my eyes off of Amy G.

You should have alerted me about the Borders woman. I could have gave her my spiel about how much better my life is now that I don't work for Borders.
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