Mark Vonnegut talks about the first posthumous collection of his father Kurt Vonnegut's writings in a bookstore in New York City.
-- And then it's time for the Farrar, Straus & Giroux poetry blog, The Best Words in their Best Order.
-- Continuing on the poetry theme, here is part 1 of an interview with Canadian poet David Solway on what makes a poem great.
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.
1. A self-published autobiography, Who Is It That Can Tell Me Who I Am? by psychotherapist Jane Haynes, has been nominated for a prestigious PEN prize.
In 1973, as a follow up to his highly successful "Transformer" album, Lou Reed released the album "Berlin". The ten-song concept album tells of the disintegration of a couple living in Germany. The couple, Caroline and Jim, follows a dark path that starts with drug addiction and descends into infidelity, spousal abuse, loss of children due to unfit parenting, and, ultimately, suicide. The album was a commercial flop upon release. Rock critic Lester Bangs, up until this point a huge Lou Reed supporter, called the record "a gargantuan slab of maggoty rancor that may well be the most depressed album ever made." Reaction to the album was so negative that Reed did not perform the complete song cycle in concert for over thirty years.