Corina Copp and Nick Piombino
Bowey Poetry Club, October 18

I love the feeling of hearing a strong block of poetry from a young poet whose work I hadn't read or heard before at all.

As my filtration system adapted over the course of Corina Copp's reading, my ear moved from light resistance to the unfamiliar rhythms and details to interest and excitement at the new information being transmitted.

Nick Piombino writes experimental wisdom literature: around here we call that poetry.

Clear, funny haikus.

The story of people as books.

I don't know of any other writer who mines the poetic power of concern for others with as much creativity as Nick does.

"Love keeps us loose, while certainty hardens us for the continual struggle."

John Cage, Music for Carillon

George Steel- Carillon
St Thomas Church 53rd and 6th Ave. 10/26/03
Free outdoor concert.

My favorite moment of this concert was approaching 5th Ave. walking east on 53rd St. in the midtown twilight haze. The sounds seem to come from everywhere. If I hadn't known what was happening, and there wasn't anything besides the sound and the people standing on the street listening to indicate it was a musical performance, I might have thought that something had gone wonderfully wrong with this church.

The piece was in 5 sections, with beautifully scattered, staggered chucks of tonality in dream counterpoint with a hint of Gamelan, though maybe all church bells have a hint of Gamelan because of the slightly detuned nature of the bells. I love the decay of the lower bells. All the street sounds fit in beautifully.

The material sounded a little like some of the earlier piano music, as you might expect, since this is also a chromatic percussion instrument. It's a keyboard instrument, but there are literally boards that are played with the fists. I know this only from reading about it. The performance itself consisted only of a building making a series of sounds.

The tones bounced wildly on the glass surfaces of the surrounding buildings, making it hard to tell it was coming from the church at all. It sounded like it was coming directly out of the sky.

When it was over, the crowd quickly disbursed, exactly as I have heard flash mobs described. The ephemerality of the whole thing was powerful.


Carla recommended going a little north of Bar Harbor, to the Winter Harbor section of Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine. It turned out to be good advice. About an hour drive due East of Bangor the coast opens up. The broadly curving harbors and islands of that area are mind-boggling, a relief from the over-saturation of rectangles in New York City.

We drove to Schoodic point, down the two-lane one-way loop road at about 4 MPH, watching the harbor open and close behind the curtains of pine trees. At the point, which is apparently known for producing dramatic and even dangerous waves breaking on the rocks, we walked down the chunky granite beach. The sense of glacial sculpting is intense.

This area has an igneous formation of black basaltic dikes, dark bands where the magma came up through gaps in the granite like ink in a fountain pen. This is clearly some kind of writing practice. Some of them are six or seven feet wide and run straight down to the water. The places where the water touches these stripes results in empty shafts dropping ten or fifteen feet, because the basalt erodes much faster than the granite. This erasure I suppose.

We walked south around an old fence and took a minute to sit in the shaded part of a cliff and listen to the ocean and breaking waves. The different variations of churning and roaring and bubbling water was endless and beautiful.

We went part way into the low pine forest, which quickly becomes too dense to navigate, and crouched down in the moss to listen to the forest sounds: scurrying, chipmunk rasps, and polymelodic group variations from some red breasted nuthatches as well as a few unknown players.

Afer relocating a bit, we hiked up a hill which opened to an overlook view of the Atlantic, the harbor, the ranges of pine trees, and all of Mount Desert Island.


I fell asleep on the couch the other day after work listening to the radio while it was still light out. Woke up in the dark with some kind of baroque solo acoustic guitar music playing. Versions of some kind of opera? The last bits of muted blue were just leaving the sky.

In the dream I was leaning against a rack in a store that went on forever. The same music played, but it was more medieval sounding, darker. I wanted to just stay in the store and listen without buying anything.

Upon waking alone in a darkened room at twilight, I always feel like a tiny speck of life that is bound to be extinguished.

Beautiful shadows thrown against the wall from the streetlight.

In the dream I thought it was odd that that I like this music so much.

What is the thing that throws me into this slightly amused panic in this situation? That the present moment is some dark thing I'm trying to emerge from, alone and disoriented? That the future is a charming but impossibly distant blue glow?


I had to make an abrupt gear-shift when returning to the city from the beauty and relaxation of Maine when a guy half-heartedly tried to mug me for my keyboard on 4th and D.

Marcella and Rich were kind enough to transport the slightly unwieldy instrument in their car after we did a reading/performance together in Orono. I picked the keyboard and keyboard stand up from them on 4th St. around 9:30pm on Sunday night. Just as they drove away, a SRO-type junkie/and/or/crazy guy who had been hovering around started coming toward me with some kind of metal object and a very unpleasant look on his face.

I gently put the keyboard on the cement behind me, picked up the keyboard stand, held it above my head in a way that made it clear he could be putting himself in harm's way, and asked, "Are you okay?" He seem confused by this, stopped, and threw what turned out to be a square metal plate at me, which completely missed. He grudgingly and slowly went away as I calmly menaced him with the keyboard stand.

I realized later that this use of a musical instrument is in the tradition of the Japanese Shakuhachi flute, which doubles as a weapon if you're in a pinch.


Steve McCaffery read with Lynne Dreyer at the Bowery Poetry Club yesterday. I came in late and, unfortunately, missed Dreyer. McCaffery gave a fully engaged, wild reading.

There was one spectacular tour de force long poem near the end which had some kind of formal constraint involving Shakespearean vocabulary. It used ambiguously shifting speaker-identities ranging across a wild, funny, sci-fi search-and-replaced comedy of truth seeking. It couldn’t be located along any irony vs. sincerity polarizing system. Completely energizing.