Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Monday's Book + Bob Hicok Reading

The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster by Richard Brautigan

I loved Trout Fishing and a couple friends talked up these poems, so I was like Okay.

I highly admire Brautigan's gusto to push forms, to think outside of the norm, to not be afraid to say something.

One question: at what point does a short, funny piece cross the line (either way) between a poem and a joke?

I'm not accusing Brautigan of anything negative. I did really enjoy these poems.

He is a master of the short form it seems, prose or poetry, because of his ability to turn hints into statements.

A good example of this:

A Widow's Lament

It's not quite cold enough
to go borrow some firewood
from the neighbors.

I often have trouble letting a feeling or image stand alone in my poems, wanting to mesh it with others, wanting it to be fun and moving and fast and energetic.

In this book, I realized, when done right, something this simple can be heavier than thou.


Last night, I went to Indianapolis to see Bob Hicok read. (BUTLER HAS SUCH A SWEET READING SERIES)

I've read a few Hicok books and the things he publishes in the journals I read. I'd call myself a good-sized fan (165 POUNDS OF POETRY LOVIN' DUDE), especially of his style. The humor-to-get-to-the-heavy-stuff feels so real life to me, like how we usually start out social interactions, even ones with big complications like a breakup, with jokes or light conversation. Read also: the repetition and discursiveness.

I was surprised by his reading style. Maybe naively, I expected more energy and more talk between pieces. Instead, he read as calmly as anyone I've seen, especially when I take into account the fact that it wasn't boring. HE WAS A DELIVERER.

Oh yes, it was a fabulous experience, me doing my weird headshake, scribbling in my notebook, trying to muster up the courage to ask a question. I DIDNT, though I had a few.

I did talk to him after, about Virginia Tech (a school to which I'm applying), his new book, and (ashamedly?) myself. I kept going back and forth about telling him I'm applying to VT, but I did it, I told him, and he was like OUR STIPEND IS GREAT. Also, he wrote in one of my books, "Good luck getting into a school." LOLZ.


Another great reading with my cool set of pals, Tyler, Sara, and Cody.


Christopher said...

The Pill is such a good read. That book taught me so much about poetry it's stupid.

Tyler said...

I agree. It was like a "chill pill."


Too bad it couldn't teach me good jokes.

But really, it's bouncing around my mind right now and I think it's lessons are coming for sure.

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