AWARDS & NEW YORK: Just a quick hello from the Big Apple on an overcast and chilly Saturday afternoon. The reading at Cornelia Street Cafe went really well last night and there was an enthusiastic and supportive audience. Sold some books, got to hang out with Jackie Sheeler and had the chance to explore more of the city on a beautiful Friday afternoon.

Let me jump back a bit now. Right before I left for the airport on Thursday, I got a call from Kodac Harrison that our alternative weekly mag, Creative Loafing , had given the Java Monkey Speaks Anthology Vol. 2 an award in its annual "Best of Atlanta" edition. Here's what they said about it:

Critics' Picks
Best Unspoken Spoken Word: Java Monkey Speaks, Vol. 2
We cramped our brains a little trying to figure out whether it still counts as spoken word if you print it in a book, but whatever it is, we enjoyed Java Monkey Speaks, Vol. 2, an anthology of poems by poets who have performed at the weekly open mic at Decatur's Java Monkey. Edited by Kodac Harrison and Collin Kelley, this second edition has some serious poetry power.$12. Poetry Atlanta Press. 90 page.

Of course, I am elated about this. We worked hard on the anthology and it truly does contain some serious poetry power. On top of this, Word Diversity Collective and Art Amok was awarded the coveted "Best Spoken Word Series" in the city. We are all still stunned that this was bestowed upon our still young organization.

Critics' Picks
Best Spoken Word Series: Art Amok
Atlanta's Word Diversity Collective shook up the spoken word scene with ART AMOK, a semi-regular poetry slam packed in an all-out multidisciplinary art party, complete with dance, music, theater, performance art and everything else they could cram into 7 Stages. Did we mention karaoke poetry? Best thing to hit spoken word since Saul Williams.

I was buzzing about this all the way to the airport. Then I got to the airport. Let's just say the flight up to NYC was one of the more harrowing I've taken lately. We sat on the runway in Atlanta for an hour because of weather, then endured two hours of multiple screaming children, had lots of turbulence in the air, then waited on the tarmac at LaGuardia because of a back up of planes trying to get to the gates. When I finally arrived at Jackie's place, I was ready to sleep and so I did.

Friday morning was cool and rainy, so I slept in until the weather cleared. I stopped for lunch at a cafe near Jackie's, then went to Central Park. I didn't bring a coat or jacket, so I froze my way from one side to the other walking to the Whitney Museum for the Picasso exhibit. It was opening day and the place was packed since the weather had cleared. I didn't get in. So I trotted over to the Guggenheim and saw the Jackson Pollock exhibition, No Limits, Just Edges, which was stunning. I managed to refrain from slapping the two old women in front of me who kept saying, "it's just paint thrown on paper...I could do this in my garden." I wanted to say, "well why the hell don't you and get out of my fucking way," but I was on my best behavior. I had never been in the Guggenheim and was dazzled by it. It's like a cathedral.

After Pollock, I went over to The Strand bookstore and made a few purchases, including Patricia Smith's latest, Teahouse of the Almighty, then wandered over to Cornelia Street early and had a glass of wine at the bar and then it was time for the reading. As I said, great reading...lots of international flavor and a little group of poets up from Louisiana, who read eloquently about the lingering aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I have to admit, I was a little exhausted when I got up to do my set, but I got a second wind and enjoyed the reading.

We got back to Jackie's place early and we both just crashed. I went to sleep reading Patricia's book (which is excellent stuff) and ideas for new poems dancing in my head. Yesterday afternoon in Harlem, a man in a beat up old car turned the corner in front of me was screaming "fire" out the window as he drove and two black girls walking in front of me, almost in unison, turned and yelled back at him, "where's it at, motherfucker?" Oh, yes indeed, there is a poem in that.


Lisa Allender said…
Woo-Hoo, Collin!
Sounds like you've had a sweet ride in NYCity--at least for the better part of your visit!
And WOW---CONGRATULATIONS on the well-deserved recognition of WDC and Art Amok!
And JMS Anthology, Volume II, too!!
M. Shahin said…
Congrats on all the great praise! More poetry power to you!

It is definitely not fun being without a jacket in cold weather. I know exactly what that is like.

New York sounds interesting but a little bit off tilt...I like it the better :-)
Anonymous said…
Congrats, CK. Its a cool book.

Clare said…
Well done Collin. That's great praise for your book.
Congratulations on Best of Atlanta and the reading. Good for you.
Tania Rochelle said…
Congrats Collin!

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