Sunday, September 28, 2008
Getting the F Out of Dodge (or Endlessly Patient Husband Begins to Lose it)
Well, we both knew it was time to leave Dodge when the rain let loose, the paths got sloppy, and a woman came up to Mark to scold him for writing "No." To make a long story short, she thought the poem should have stated that it was wrong to move or pick up a wood turtle. Then Mark sat behind a man who so much hated another reader that he scowled at the crowd every time applause was offered. As he listened to poem after poem, Mark couldn't help fixating on the pocket knife sheath at this fellow's belt.
Isolated incidents, though. All and all I had an outstanding time, probably the best I've had at any Dodge Festival, and I've been to many. It's pretty hard to imagine a crowd in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube sitting through a four-hour reading and concentrating, but that's what we all did last night. And took in lots of tough, rigorous poems, which resisted any easy ideas of consolation or affirmation.
I dropped Mark off at Newark Airport--no rest for the poet: he has to teach tomorrow and Tuesday in Houston. Then I drove back through Bayonne and Jersey City, in through the Holland Tunnel to put the car back in its usual lot at Pier 40. Now I'm back in the apartment, feeling somewhat oppressed by the copying and printing I have to do for tomorrow's workshop. This strikes me as the least rewarding part of teaching, and I wish I had a better attitude about it, even though a part of me is drawn to mindless tasks that I can applaud myself for accomplishing. I'm treating myself to some Campari to get myself motivated. But I am looking forward to talking about the two student stories, both of which are smart and inspired. Then we're going to take a look at Mary Gaitskill's "A Girl On the Plane," which breaks my heart every time I think of it. Patty LaForge. Poor Patty.
Anyway, above are a few pictures from the morning. Umbrellas in the rain, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Mark with Umbrella, and Chandler, a charming guide dog.