Three Days of Looking at Poets’ Shoes

This weekend I’ve been going to the readings and things that are part of the Wave Books 3 days of poetry. It’s been really fun looking at everyone’s shoes. Here is a review of the poets’ shoes, beginning with the people who read on Friday. I’ll post reviews of Saturday’s readers soon.

Friday night, August 14.

1. Matthew Rohrer

Right after he began reading, all of the lights in the auditorium slowly dimmed, until the room was completely dark. Immediately they came back on. He was wearing black New Balance sneakers.

On Saturday Rachel Zucker will refer to him, in a poem, as the 2nd happiest poet in the room, after herself.

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2. Richard Meier

I had never heard of Richard Meier before this reading. He wore nondescript black leather lace-up shoes that I will realize on Saturday are the same style Keens that my boyfriend wears.

Something else about Richard Meier–when he started reading, I realized that it was he who had given me an apologetic smile earlier in the afternoon when Mary Ruefle and then Dorothea Lasky went in front of me in the line at the cafe. He seemed kind and stooped somewhat.

Eileen Myles and Noelle Kocot had looked at us in line and then left the cafe without ordering anything.

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3. Noelle Kocot

Before the reading I had an idea of Noelle Kocot being an accountant living in NY or maybe New Jersey. She wore black open-back slip-on shoes that resembled sneakers in the front and had thick soles.

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4. Maggie Nelson

I hadn’t heard of Maggie Nelson before this reading. She was wearing open-toe wedge sandals with stacked heels and they looked uncomfortable when she walked across the stage. She read poems about being lonely and “fucking” the Prince of Blue.

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5. Joshua Beckman

My idea of Joshua Beckman before this reading was this: he is the person Matthew Rohrer smokes pot with on long cross-country drives, and then they write poems together about pine trees and how you can choose to be happy.

He wore suspenders with leather detailing that matched the color of his leather shoes. On Friday I thought his shoes looked like Venetian-style loafers, but by Saturday, next to Dorothea Lasky’s mod ankle boots, they looked more hip, less old-money Italian diamond dealer who smokes pot in the grape arbor of his estate.

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6. Dara Weir

Flat-soled black boots that came to mid-calf. Quietly walked across stage. Right after she asked if we could hear her, the mic cut out. I had trouble hearing most of what she read. Wore sunglasses on Saturday into the auditorium and removed them just before the reading began.

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7. Eileen Myles

On Friday for her reading she wore off-white canvas shoes that were kind of dirty. On Saturday she wore weathered black motorcycle boots. On Saturday I imagined the off-white canvas shoes alone in her hotel room. I imagined her sitting in her hotel room before her reading, deciding between the motorcycle boots and the canvas shoes.