On Sunday we gathered an unprecedented number of poets at Lightrail Studios to celebrate an unparalleled poet and spirit, Colleen Lookingbill, who unfortunately left us on March 30th. Besides the Poet as Radio hosts, Tiff Dressen, Susanne Dyckman, Todd Melicker, Joseph Noble, Steven Seidenberg, Candy Shue along with Colleen’s husband Jordon Zorker took part in a memorial show, which included a reading of Colleen’s work and a discussion of her life. We heard work from both her books Incognita (Sink Press, 1992) and a forgetting of (Lyric & Press, 2011), as well as some other pieces published in literary journals.
After the break, the group shared anecdotes from Colleen’s life and artistic endeavors. Jordon told us that she was influenced by the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets and she liked the term ‘experimental poetry.’ Colleen was also a visual artist and she created visual poetry that was included in a forgetting of. Colleen was an incredibly open and giving person. Tiff introduced Colleen’s relationship to Buddhism and Jordon expanded on this, discussing her interest in different spiritual traditions. Joseph told us about his experience of book shopping with Colleen, where she gravitated towards obscure texts. One of her last projects was an anthology of women poets she compiled with Elizabeth Robinson, As If It Fell From the Sun (Ether Dome, 2012).
Thank you to all the poets who took part in this show.
And thank you Colleen for your poetry, your presence and the beautiful mark you left on this writing community. You are surely missed.
Who could not love the premise of Evan Karp‘s reading series, Under the Influence? Each writer chooses an author that (s)he loves, introduces the audience to that author, then reads a short piece inspired by the work of that writer. I stumbled upon Italo Calvino’s novel, If On A Winter’s Night, A Traveller, when I was working at my first bookstore job in San Francisco. I fell into it completely, with its 2nd person narration and its unconventional, twisty storytelling. I went on to read Invisible Cities, Cosmicomics, Under the Jaguar Sun, Marcovaldo, Mr. Palomar, and many other Calvino titles. He had a prolific imagination that made the world seem possible.
My story, “Invisible City,” was inspired by Calvino’s stories told by Marco Polo to Kublai Khan. To me that book is several books rolled into one: fairytales, travelogue, architectural guidebook, and bromance. Still one of my favorite books to read on an airplane.
“Invisible City” at The Emerald Tablet, August 2, 2014
I had the great pleasure of guest curating the eighth edition of Bay Area Generations: A Reading Series for the Ages at the Lorca inspired setting of Duende Bar and Bodega in Oakland, California. It was an appropriately inspired night for poetry and music, including the duo of Paul Hoover and Justin Etc. on the mic and jazz musician Michael Parsons on the piano. Enjoy the video!
Getting back in to the swing of things, here is the video of the Bay Area Generations Reading that I teamed up for with the lovely and esteemed poet, Norma Cole. You can watch the entire reading, or go to the playlist to skip to Norma and me.
Bay Area Generations #3, December 6, 2013 at the Sports Basement, San Francisco