Kate Bush earlier this week at Buckingham Place.
THE POETRY SHUFFLE & A KATE UPDATE: This has been an incredibly busy week, filled with poetry and life's little dramas along the way. Here's a recap:
First off, Kate Bush made a rare appearance at Buckingham Palace this week for an event hosted by the Queen to honor UK musicians. She told a radio dj that the album probably wouldn't be out until after the summer. Everyone is predicting a September or October release. I'm so excited I could just wet myself. She looks lovely and it's been 12 long years since the last album. Must remain calm. :)
On Tuesday night, I went over to the Avis Williams Library in Toco Hills to speak to the Village Writers Group. This was my third appearance there in about as many years and, as always, there was a very attentive, interested audience. I read some new work, talked about some of my latest travel adventures, advised on literary agents (never pay a "reader's fee" or any money up front), talked about publishing in online lit mags and probably crushed one or two folks by talking about poetry scams (those offering you giant prizes and publication in one of their anthologies you have to purchase for $49.95). I sold some CDs and books (thanks to everyone who bought one...hope you're enjoying) and was home in time for the Amazing Race. Off to a very lively start, but Rob and Amber have to go!
On Wednesday afternoon, Kodac Harrison, Cherryl Floyd-Miller and I went over to Oakland Cemetery to meet with the organizers of Art in the Park, a week-long event planned in May. Yes, that's right, an arts event in a cemetery. Of course, Oakland is not your ordinary cemetery. It's gigantic and filled with beautiful Victorian era mausoleums and architecture, not to mention famous dead folk like Margaret Mitchell and golfer Bobby Jones. Oakland is a favorite place for picnics, jogging, dog-walking, etc. so why not arts? I think it's cool. I'm going to organize a reading for the Georgia Poetry Society and host a Twilight Open Mic at some point during the event. Stay tuned for more details.
After the meeting, we retired over to the Carroll Street Cafe for martinis and to discuss upcoming projects we're all involved in...notably the final slam competition that will decide who is going to make up Atlanta's official team going to the National Slam in August. The Java Monkey Speaks Anthology is going to press (fingers crossed) on March 15, so we're talking about several events for that. We all have so many irons in the fire it's ridiculous, but if we're going to bring more recognition to Atlanta's poets, you have to do a lot of hard work. Just this afternoon, I got a press release at work about a poetry event in Atlanta where the usual suspects have been invited, including Georgia's apparent poet-laureate-for-life, David Bottoms. Cherryl and I are cooking up a couple of ideas that should make a few folks sit up and take notice. You should stay tuned for more on that as well.
Yesterday, I met the wonderful poet Franklin Abbott for lunch at Agnes & Muriel's. We dished over poets, talked about politics, upcoming events, etc. I saw him last night at the Poetry at Tech reading for CK Williams and Adam Zagajewski. So many of my poetry pals were in attendance, and I sat with Tania Rochelle and Geri Taran. CK Williams pleased me so much by announcing that he was reading new work, some of which he had only finished drafts of this week. I had to chuckle to myself about some of the local poets who are offended by coming to open mics and hearing poetry that has just been recently written. Some of CK's new stuff was pretty rough, but it was amazing to hear his work in progress as he begins putting together a new collection. I also got introduced to another wonderful poet, Kurt Brown. I was supposed to do a workshop with him last month, but went to Dahlonega instead. Oh, if I only had a time machine!
Also this week, a drug dealer moved into the loft next to mine. Even as I write this, I'm getting a contact high from the amount of pot being smoked next door. And how do I know he's a drug dealer? Well... he's only been here four days and he's had more people in and out of that loft than I've had over to my place in two years. Second, he's never left the loft (to my knowledge) since he arrived. He lights up a joint (or maybe it's a bong or pipe) first thing in the morning and keeps on puffing all day long and into the night. I wouldn't be able to get up off the couch either if I was smoking that much marijuana. Also, he has a cell phone that rings non-stop. It's rang four times in the short amount of time it's taken me to write this. I can hear partial conversations with him giving directions, etc. He must have some clientele if they'll come to him. Of course, since my loft complex has turned into ghetto hell, this latest development isn't really surprising. The number of shady looking characters roaming around here at all hours, Snoop Dogg being played so loud in cars entering and leaving the property at 2 a.m. that it shakes the building, and the filthy conditions are all proof that I'm now living in gangsta paradise. Let's tot this up shall we. In the five year's I've lived here, I've lived next door to two screaming lesbians who used to beat the shit out of each other and play their stereo at ungodly levels, two drag-queens who used to fight, ditto the stereo and eventually had to skip out on the lease when they couldn't pay up, and now a drug dealer.
May 31 can't get here fast enough.