Why I’m Playing Bongo Drums on Thursday

Music National Poetry Month Poetry Poetry Readings Spoken Word

1. The Beat Poetry Happy Hour will take place at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City this Thursday, April 17 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, featuring Tao Lin, Zachary German, Clarissa Beyah Taylor, Larissa Shmailo, Joy Leftow and, of all people, me playing bongo drums. How, you may wonder, did I end up playing bongo drums? Well, it has something to do with a recent Bowery Poetry Club Beat Poetry Happy Hour I attended. A drummer was struggling a bit onstage, and I casually sauntered over to host George Wallace and said "I can play bongo drums better than this guy."

I meant it in a sort of smart-ass generic way, the way I might also say, for instance, "My mother can pitch relief better than Aaron Heilman". The actual truth, though, is that my mother can't pitch relief better than Aaron Heilman. The actual truth is also that I don't know how to play bongo drums. However, George took me literally and signed me up, so I will fake it as best as I can this Thursday. I will also shout out a poem or two, and if you are anywhere near downtown New York this Thursday at 6:30 I really hope you'll come by. I guarantee it will be fun.

2. Hey, two other cool things about the Bowery Poetry Club (which has been, needless to say, my favorite poetry club in the world since it opened in 2002). First, rebel publisher Sander Hicks' Vox Pop has just opened a Vox Pop outlet there! Second, the club has got a very nice new website.

3. You may ask: is this event associated with National Poetry Month? NO! We at LitKicks are now officially on record as National Poetry Month haters, and that's a stance I can live with, even though it's been Jamelah and not me, for once, who's been doing the bulk of complaining.

4. Enough about all that. Here's a surprising piece about the inspiration for the Beatles' song "Paperback Writer". It turns out McCartney was thinking about a Penguin, and we never knew this until now! Great stuff. (Via Frank Wilson)

5. Indie publisher Tim Hall has a new model for financing books: AuthorShares. Check it out and see what you think. Let's just hope this doesn't end up like Enron.

6. As Ed mentions, I made the mistake of trying to argue with internet-naysayer Lee Siegel at a New York Public Library discussion featuring Nicholson Baker and Heidi Julavits. I was only there to catch Baker, but I got suckered in and tried to talk sense. Pointless.

7. From the Bureau of Public Secrets:
Six Japanese Novelists: Hiroshi Noma, Osamu Dazai, Yasunari Kawabata, Yukio Mishima, Shohei Ooka, Junichiro Tanizaki.

8 Responses to "Why I’m Playing Bongo Drums on Thursday"

by Steve Plonk on

Hope the readings at the Bowery Poetry Club and the drummings go well and that you all have a
beatific audience of throngs of folks. I wish I could be there. Still chooglin' down here in Chattanooga, TN.

It is during days like this that I miss the old days in NYC, even though I may not recognize parts of it today. Haven't been in NYC since 1979. I flew over NYC in a jet in 1983, coming back from the U. K. I really miss my Great Aunt and Uncle who were our hosts during that last time, in 1979, and many times before. They also were our hosts when my wife and I went to the United Kingdom.

by marydell on

As a former 3rd and 4th grade teacher, I also hate on National Poetry Month. It's when curriculum planners shoehorn in the poetry unit, which turns out badly because the kids forget everything you taught as soon as they go on spring break. I especially couldn't stand Poem In Your Pocket Day because it really only served as a blind: shills distract the teacher with poetry while several acts of delinquency are committed behind the back.

But Marydell, don't you think at least one child went into spring break sitting under a tree, contimplating verse, reading and maybe even writing poetry?

by panta rhei on

when i read your "mc cartney was thinking about a penguin" when he wrote 'paperback writer', i immediately thought "yes! that's it... that's what the song's rhythm and tune had always reminded me of and what i could just never quite grasp", and i felt quite satisfied (the cadenced bouncing, the pulsative swayings, rythmical waddling, to and fro, up and down...it fitted perfectly!). at least until i read the article you linked to, and i realized that, well... it wasn't exactly the same kind of penguin that you were talking about and that i was thinking of...

anyway, good luck with your bongo-ing on thursday. it sure is something that i'd love to hear (and see)!

by Levi Asher on

Panta Rhei, that is hilarious! Well, maybe the British publishers who created paperback books were thinking about "cadenced bouncing, the pulsative swayings, rythmical waddling, to and fro, up and down", even if McCartney wasn't. Maybe McCartney was too. As Corso said, "bring me penguin dust!".

by marydell on

Bill, dare to dream...

stargazing at noon--
I locate Andromeda
on your freckled thigh

Now what do you suppose inspired me to write this haiku several years ago? An albatross? A talking pie from Little Debbie's? A wee man with a telescope in a boat...? Yessiree, Rob, this is a toughie....

by um on

Can you read dungeon there for me ? or do you just read your own? Just a crazy idea like playin the bongos....

You can preface it by sayin sometime listenin to other people's poetry is like having a root canal, well this root canal will be one of the shortest you've ever had, mike