Nothing kills a party mood like a poetry reading. That’s the main takeaway lesson for me after agreeing to read some of my work as part of a loft party in DC in 1993. The organizer (and loft owner) named Judy saw my featured reading at 15 Minutes Club on August 9 and asked me to come by her event a few days later on August 13, which she was calling Plaid.
The place was packed with revelers enjoying the rarity of an actual loft party in DC. A band calling itself Blue Teal Tory was cranking away at the tunes. I remember my friend Alberto Gaitan was playing keyboards, and he set me up with the microphone. Somebody (maybe me?) yelled over the crowd, and the voices slowly died down. At that point, the poetry went over a cliff like a bus full of concrete.
As soon as I shut up, the nattering resumed full force. Some guy buttonholed me to talk about Ezra Pound, convinced I was influenced by him. Or something. I actually know very little about Pound, and care even less. He’s not an influence on any of my work. But being ignored and misinterpreted are some of the penalties of taking one’s creative efforts into the public sphere.