Thursday, May 24, 2012, 6:30 pm
535 West 22nd Street, 5th Floor
New York City
Elaine Equi was born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1953. She is the author of many collections of poetry including Voice-Over (Coffee House Press, 1998), which won the San Francisco State Poetry Award; Ripple Effect: New & Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2007), which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and on the short list for the Griffin Poetry Prize; and most recently, Click and Clone (Coffee House Press, 2011). Widely published and anthologized, Equi’s work has appeared in the Nation, Poetry, the New Yorker, and several editions of The Best American Poetry. Equi lives in New York City, where she teaches creative writing at New York University and in the MFA programs at the New School and City College of New York.
cut from darkness --
as a new century
where the young
and the old are crazy
and do as they please.
How did a silent movie
give birth to a nation?
How did a mouse, a shirt,
and a few grains
of wheat grow up
to be the president?
Jerome Sala was born in Evergreen Park, Illinois, in 1951 and has a PhD in American Studies from New York University. He is the author of many cult classics, including Look Slimmer Instantly
(2005), Raw Deal
(1994), I Am Not a Juvenile Delinquent
(1985), Spaz Attack
(1980), and most recently Prom Night
(2011), a collaboration with artist Tamara Gonzales, featuring a sequence of his goth/horror poems. His writing has appeared widely in publications such as The Best American Poetry, the Nation, Rolling Stone, Pleiades, Ploughshares, Boundary 2, the Brooklyn Rail, the World
, and many others. Sala maintains the blog espresso bongo on “poetry, pop culture, and everyday life” at espressobongo.typepad.com
, and lives and works in New York City.
The original affluent society
affected an aristocratic disinterest
toward the stones upon which its cave people slept
upon the very stones its age was built.
Among their tribe were those who turned a cold eye to the great advances –
much like the abominable snow people of today
who tuck themselves away in the purple shadows of the world’s frozen bush
as if to prove there is still an underground
filled with hairy bohemians.
Stone Age hipsters likewise said “no”
to the tool-loving utilitarians who pounded their age into shape --
creating rocky igloo prisons they called “the hearth” in grunt language --
preferring instead to huddle in ravines of irrelevance.
How is it then that these flaneurs continually rise from extinction
like those clowns in the old cartoons would
from knocked over bottles of ink –
an ink left behind
by the perennial architects of the next age?
Are they something more than themselves –
rogue impulses without words or images of their own
but which nevertheless, like a flood
pick up people, houses and trees along the way
to a destination they never reach?