Last week, I put a pear and a long, red Jonathan Edwards commemorative pencil in my bag as I went to wait for the bus to Amherst for a reading. I didn't eat the pear, which, because of the heat, got so soft that I could peel it with a spoon. So I did and put the pear mush in the freezer, and, just now, put it in the blender with cinnamon and yogurt to make a frozen pear smoothie that I just drank the last swallow of from a tall glass. It was good.
- Mark Doty read poems that are staying with me, including a fierce one about a guy deliberately almost running him over, and what it felt like to be carrying his anger and image of that around with him, it ends, I think, "When did I ever put anything down?" And another poem I really loved about a confrontation with the sublime -- the terrible, tempting danger of it -- climbing a wild, weird Gaudi temple and getting safely down again, belly to dirt, all the while sitting clapping in a room.
- Paul Lisicky read very new work: short pieces filled with animals, woods and a kind of dangerous intensity and shifting sense of the real that reminded me of Rebecca Brown's The Dogs and Emma Donoghue's Kissing the Witch and The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits. They made my skin tingle up and down the inside of my arms, which only happens when the work is touching a deep vein in me.
- Thomas Sayers Ellis was an amazing reader.
- Grace Paley was looking a bit more frail than the last time I'd seen her, read a lot of poems, and said of a story she read, "I think there's another page, but, oh well." And that's really how it felt -- she had offered us plenty, for sure.