Marianne Boruch and Campbell McGrath read tonight to a packed house. (Really. They drew like four times as many people as the J.D. McClatchy reading on Sunday. To be fair, the publicity for Sunday's reading got screwed up and half of it said it was on Saturday, so people may have gotten confused.) I spotted several members of IU's MFA program faculty (Cathy Bowman, Maura Stanton, Richard Cecil, probably others) as well as several people I knew -- it was defintely the Poetry Place To Be tonight.
And it was a good reading. Boruch led off with a poem from her recent Selected, but then read all new work, which was quite good. McGrath read a sheaf of new poems, then several from Pax Atomica (including "Rock and Roll" and "The Human Heart," two of my favorites in the book), then a few from a manuscript he's currently working on -- one of which, "Ode to Bureaucracy" I think it was called, had me struggling not to keel over laughing. What I love about McGrath's poetry is that he's simultaneously one of the funniest & one of the angriest (I'm not kidding, read some of the rants in Florida Poems if you don't believe me) poets around today. --Maybe "angriest" isn't the right word, maybe I just mean "ranty-est" but man, he does a mean-ass rant when he gets going. I envy that.
Happily, Boxcar Books had a table outside the room selling a few books afterwards, so I bought my own copy of Pax Atomica & can now return the public library's copy to them; I also bought Marianne Boruch's book of essays, In the Blue Pharmacy (which I also have out from the public library). I thought about going back in to get them signed, but the room was mobbed with people most of whom were swarming towards one or the other of the readers, and decided not to fight the crowds. I'm not an autograph fiend, though I do really enjoy having books signed by people I know somewhat (fellow bloggers, I'm lookin' at you) and by summer-workshop teachers. I enjoy getting books signed by people I don't know sometimes, too, but it's not a big enough deal for me to make like a salmon and swim upstream through the throngs or whatever.
(I did once stand in a very long line at a bookstore to get Alice Walker's autograph in a book. But that was Alice Walker and she's pretty much a rockstar.)
Also, I got new shoes today and they have purple insoles and I love them.
Also, I'm jealous of all you people going to AWP. I am not very good at schmoozing in crowds, but if I found a couple of people I could mostly hang out with so that I wasn't constantly wandering around trying to break into conversations, I think it would be a blast going to readings and buying (way too many, I'm sure) books and meeting up with various bloggers for a drink or five. Maybe next year.
Also also, I have marshmallow peeps. Peeps!