Indiana & Amelia photo by Dennis Riley
I am currently preparing for my first The Dogs of Brooklyn poetry show. The Dogs of Brooklyn is my fresh poetic narrative about my colorful life as a dogwalker accompanied by vibrant photographs of Brooklyn and the dogs by Dennis Riley. The Dogs of Brooklyn is the poetic equivalent to many other bestselling dog-oriented books like Marley and Me, Mark Doty’s Dog Years, and Unleashed: Poems by Writer’s Dogs.
For the month of November 2009 Dennis Riley and I will be hanging his photographs and my poems of/about the dogs and Brooklyn at Ozzie’s on 7th Avenue and Lincoln Place in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY. We will be having a free opening party/reading on Friday, November 6th at 7pm. I, the fabulous Melissa Febos writer of the memoir Whipsmart and co-host of Mixer reading series, and one other writer TBA will be reading poems and stories about Brooklyn and its “wildlife.” Melissa and I are also discussing the possibility of me joining her on her West Coast book release tour Spring 2010. I plan on doing some guerilla style readings at Dog Runs, Pet Stores, Book Stores etc. More info to come!
As most of you know I’ve been working on a book of interviews with poets for the past year. The interviews were originally featured on BOMBlog. I do love reading these poets’ new books, researching them, and asking them thoughtful questions about their work, and most of them seem to appreciate not getting asked “Who’s your Favorite Poet?” and “When did you write your first poem?etc. Below are some of my interviews so far:
Denise Duhamel: Reform School Poet
Barbara Hamby and the Abecedarian Corset
Akilah Oliver: Good Grief
The Biographical Helium of Stacy Szymaszek
Matthew Rohrer: Poultry and Poetry?
Campbell McGrath, Survivor: Poetry Edition
Mary Jo Bang: The Bride of Alliteration
Hopefully we will find a publisher for both books soon!
For many years I’ve been writing in various coffee shops in Brooklyn practically every morning from 8 am-noon. Last week I reported to writing duty at my my local coffee shop, Sit and Wonder, and Elijah, the super, had made me a nameplate to reserve my table! To me, this was like receiving an academy award! In a profession where one is rarely paid for all the hours they spend staring into a computer and developing carpal tunnel, any recognition of effort is greatly appreciated.
Friday, after firing off my questions for BOMBlog to the poet Campbell McGrath about his new book Shannon, I had coffee with my friend Anna from the great band These Are Powers, and then went to walk dogs. It’s quite a juxtaposition to go from emailing with a famous poets and chatting with great musicians to picking up dog crap. Reminds me of the feeling I used to have after I played shows with Terset and Wu Wei. I’d go from being being a star one minute to lugging my amp up three flights of stairs to my apartment by myself only to to be howled at by my cat, Itty Pity, for being gone so long and not cleaning her litter box often enough. Animals have a way of keeping me tied firmly to the earth despite my head often being in the clouds.
Saturday morning Dennis and I headed for Philly for a long weekend. The first day we checked into the Thomas Bond House Bed and Breakfast, then had lunch at the delicious Farmacia. We tried to check out the historic liberty bell etc. but it was too crowded. We got pissed off after getting yelled at by some underpaid security guard for not going through the “Left door” so we left and walked down to the Reading Terminal Market to get ice cream at Bassetts. I am a bit of an ice cream connoisseur and I had to check out this place since its been around since 1861. I had an amazing cup of Raspberry Truffle. After a nap we walked down to 13th street or the “gayborhood” to meet friends I met in Prague last summer Kathryn and Bojan. I feel I had a hand in playing matchmaker with these two who are still together a year later and living in the same city finally! We passed a few cool stores on the way there on Walnut, this fair trade shop Ten Thousand Villages and then the PHAG shop (really!). We ate at this great mexican restaurant Lolita (how literary!) Then got gelato at Capogiro. Apparently Michelle Obama and her daughters were there last week, I know this because they had it on their sign, and now that I’m googling it for the website I see it’s there as well!
Magic Garden by Dennis Riley
Day 2: We checked out a skyscraper exhibit at the Philly Museum of Art, went to a Bug Show at the Academy of Natural Sciences. It was so hot. The concrete of the city holds the heat, it makes it feel like the sun is not only beating down on you from above but also from below. Despite this we walked to South Street to one of my favorite places Philly’s Magic Garden. It turns out HBO just made a film about the artist responsible for the Magic Garden Isaiah Zagar called In a Dream. We got cheesesteaks and almost threw up. Ingesting a meat bomb on an empty stomach in ninety degree heat is not a good idea. Gluttons that we are, after a nap we got ice cream the pseudo old time ice cream shop Franklin Fountain.
By Monday I was bloated and ready to get back to Brooklyn. This city is in my blood and despite my wanting to get away at times it seems whenever I leave, after a few days, I can’t wait to get back. The great writer and my good friend Melissa Febos covered the dogs for me. I missed the dogs, they are as much a part of my heart and home as Brooklyn.