Monday, October 31, 2005

Desert Moon Review Reading, Saturday, October 29

Just returned from Philadelphia where I spent time at Robin's Bookstore, 13th and Samsom Streets, as master of ceremonies at the first get-together of poets from Desert Moon Review, where I am editor. Follow the link through the title to our website.

A report of our great weekend... In all, a fabulous weekend enjoyed by all!

Most of us were staying at the Alexander Inn described as a "boutique bed and breakfast" at Spruce and 12th Street. It turned out to be a nice place run by a gay Belgian guy and his friend. The staff were polite and efficient. Price a bit on the pricy side but worth it for the convenience and the bonhomie of having everyone together.

I just stayed the one night, Sat. night although Jim Corner, founder, publisher and owner of Desert Moon Review, stayed Friday and Saturday nights. They even printed calling cards for him "James D. Corner, in residence at the Alexander Inn..." I didn't get those maybe because I only stayed one night! Jim is a retired pastor who lives in Arizona.

I found Jim in the breakfast room when I arrived and so we shared breakfast and chatted for an hour or so. Then as people came and went I recognized Laurie Byro and her husband. Laurie and Mike wanted to go the Museum of Art to see the Edvard Munch exhibition. He's the Norwegian artist who painted "The Scream" which was recently stolen. Laurie wanted to see his painting "The Mermaid" and it was impressive, supported by similar studies he had done. Also great to see the Impressionists in adjoining rooms.

We lunched at the Art Museum and got back to the Inn in time to meet Guy Kettelhack and Sarah Sloat. Guy took us over to the bookstore after walking at first in the wrong direction.... we figured it out, the streets are a bit confusing so I could have easily made the same mistake. Checked out the upstairs space for the reading. There was a black history guy talking about his book when we looked in.

Then back to the hotel to chill out until 6:00 pm and then to walk over to the bookstore. Met Al Ferber, Philly native and Mike Byro enjoying cigarettes on the sidewalk outside the store. Al was there with his wife Cathi, his cousin from Maryland, and husband occupying the front row.

Started the reading dead on 7:00 pm. Jim Corner had suggested reading in a round robin manner but I didn't see how that could conveniently work with people going on and offstage in the time allowable, so we read in alphabetical order. I introduced each reader and allowed each of the eight readers seven and a half minutes each which allowed for around five or so poems each. A great variety of poems and styles of poetry and the reading was great, lots of laughs and beautiful imagery. Impressive!

We actually finished at 7:55 pm so I invited everyone to read one more poem so we did have the round robin reading Jim had called for. Scott Summers who came up last did not have a poem but spoke to how DMR had helped him grow as a poet. Laurie Byro asked him to read again his first poem.

We went to the Sansom Street Oyster House for a meal... Al Ferber and gang didn't come with us, Al and wife had to go to their shore house to close up for the winter.

Had drinks and a great meal at the Oyster House, though I had to send instructions to the bar on how to make a double Harvey Wallbanger straight up... a screwdriver with galliano. When it came there was no OJ so I sent it back to be added. Long and cool it turned out great.

I had lobster bisque and an entree of broiled scallops. Fine conversation about literature and how we had all enjoyed the evening. Said goodbye to Sarah and her sister on the sidewalk outside and the rest of us went back to the Alexander Inn. All in all a fine and satisfying time! We plan another get together/reading perhaps in the West, hopefully next year. Stay tuned for news of that.

Lingua Frank O'

Standing in the Sunday morning October cold air
for the red and white Capital cab to whisk me
back to 30th Street Station, I study the Flemish
bond of the turn-of-the-century boutique B and B,
carved brownstown quoins, ornate window filigree.

I recall how yesterday it was HQ for Desert Moon,
--though Spanish-French fills the breakfast room
where yestermorn Jim Corner and I kibbutzed,
went with Laurie & Mike to the Philly Art Museum
with its Rocky steps, an eyeful of Edvard Munch.

How Guy, the expert, guided us the wrong way
to the bookshop on the Philly streets till we figured
the right way. At a deli, I bought bottled water
and we settled into Mr. Robin's bookstore loft,
timed the reading to perfection, 60 min. exactly.

So many styles of expression! Eight poets,
eight different voices! Mitchell's mauve poems,
his sonnets, villanelles, Jim's Palo Verde verse,
Scott's Civil War pieces, Al's Philly humor,
Sarah on what it's like to live in Germany,

Laurie and I read from The Poets Gone Wild
anthology... Guy on living in Greenwich Village.
He's Frank O'Hara reborn, but more formal
than Frank, people said I'm more like O'Hara:
Did this, did that; made Philly Lingua Frank O'.

Christopher T. George


Sherry Pasquarello said...

hi chris, sounds like you have a really great time! thanks so much for sharing. smiling, sherry

Christopher T. George said...

Hi Sherry

Thanks. Wish you could have been there. While I have met several of the DMR poets at various times it was great to meet a number of the others that I only knew through cyberspace. I should have a photo or two to post later.