Well, son-of-a-gun. Craig Perez comes all the way from California, but nobody could drive 45 minutes from Lawrence to hear him read. O Kansas! O Humanity!
You missed a great reading. Craig is a terrific reader of his own work. If you've read his stuff, you know he likes using the entire space of the page - the archipelagoes of words and the oceanic blanknesses and so on. For me, reading his book the first time, it was a very visual experience. So it was good to experience the music of it by hearing him read. Robert Duncan and Charles Olson had complex systems of inflections and pauses based on their spacing and placement of lines. I didn't hear that, but I did get the narrative flow better - and the way Craig interrupts it or impedes it with a counter-narrative. The first poem he read, for instance, "from Achiote," I really heard the way that the Chomorro words threaten to scuttle the story of indigenous rebellion and Spanish conquest.
He read a para from a recent review of his book (positive overall) which took him to task for interspersing the longer historical narratives with "de rigueur lyrics," or some damn thing - b/c of course politics and lyric poetry don't mesh, n'est pas? Well, I wish he'd read some more of those lyric poems, esp. in context - as reflections on and interpolations into the narrative material.
He also read some new pieces in the voice of "Juan Malo" - a trickster figure who reminded me of the John of the "John and Ol' Massa" stories.
The reading was in the "Missouri Valley Room" (the local collection), which has a wood-panelled, clubby feel - and there was a fairly good crowd - and Craig was funny and charming - so it didn't have quite the cavernous, distant vibe of the CD Wright reading in KC. But still an older crowd than for Lawrence readings (naturally). I was pleased that the Q&A turned to questions of Guam sovereignty (or lack thereof) - a real case-study in how poetry can lead to a political-historical education.
My first time at the new KC main branch public library. A veritable palace.
At the New Orleans Poetry Festival, April, 2017 - Eileen Tabios, Tim Dyke, Lo Mei Wa and myself before the Tinfish Press reading.
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