wave books

more poets’ shoes

On Saturday evening, there was another reading, and I got to check out more Wave poets’ shoes. Here they are in order of appearance.

Saturday, August 15.

1. Anthony McCann

His shoes were elusive. Were they hiking boots or sneakers? They had moc-toes. I tried to sketch them on my program. In the sketch they look like clouds with trees for laces.


2. Rachel Zucker

They were like Dansko clogs, only cut away, so they were more like sandals. I worked with someone at a bookstore who wore Danskos. She liked to knit. Rachel Zucker read a long poem about being pregnant. She also read a poem in which she quoted Matthew Rohrer saying something like, “When you feel like going dark in a poem, just don’t, and see what happens.” I remembered the darkness that interrupted Matthew’s poem the night before.


3. Geoffrey Nutter

Geoffrey Nutter! You looked like an accountant with your brown lace-up shoes and wearing a tie, and in fact when you began reading you reminded me of my bank account and how it is empty. But soon you were very funny, and we were all laughing, perhaps Joshua Beckman most of all, especially at your poem in which you reduced everything to dope. “Thy bones are made of dope.”


4. Matthew Zapruder

He wore plastic/rubber sandals. When I first saw him I thought he looked like he was from Seattle/Portland. He talked about living in San Fransisco in a poem and biking to work in lanes designated by symbolic bikers. He talked about renting space in an office building with other writers. The screen behind him mysteriously began to rise.

I liked what he was reading but my mind started to wander. I thought about how funny it is that people write poems–really struggle to do this, bike through traffic, pay rent at a building where they go to write poems, and sit there, sometimes all day, trying. I love this about people.

Last night, I had a dream about a very lovable Irish Setter, the most tender dream I’ve ever had about an animal possibly because its eyes were so expressive and large, and I knew in the dream that this dog was Matthew Zapruder.


5. Jon Woodward

I found you endearing. I used to wear that same kind of Adidas shoe with my Umbro shorts to middle school. I found your poem about larvae endearing. I found your last poem, which I remember so little of (there were rainbows, and shifting sonic fields) amazing. I hope that I will read it soon.


6. Dorothea Lasky

She tripped a little walking to the mic. “I almost wiped out a little,” she said. I think we all liked her then. She wore suede ankle boots with heels.

All weekend she wore loud, clashing clothing. She read her poems loudly, almost shouting them. She read “Boobs are Real.” She said she had to read it because she was wearing the right shirt for it.

When she cut in front of me in line on Friday, I think she was wearing black vinyl sandals. I’m really looking forward to her next book, Black Life.


7. Mary Ruefle

I assumed they were boots though I never saw the tops of them.  They had angular, stiff soles, like cowboys wear, and horses, too. The last time I saw her, on Sunday, she had a cigarette dangling out of her mouth while she stood outside the gallery arranging papers in what was probably some kind of order, looking tired. I think she’s from the East Coast.

While I biked home from the reading, I thought again how funny it is that people write poems, travel long distances alone to read them aloud, and then stand outside possibly feeling like they still haven’t got something right, or feeling like they have got it all right, and that these feelings might go walking by, eating candy the color of a sunset and talking about their secrets loud enough for a poem’s ears.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.