Sunday, November 13, 2005

CS + JK at Amherst Books

Yesterday I traveled for first time in a little while to give a reading. I hadn't been to the Five Colleges region of Massachusetts in years, pretty much since my friend Gerard taught at Amherst years ago, but I was invited to read with poet and artist Christopher Stackhouse at Amherst Books (and also at one of the smaller schools in the area, Greenville CC, but I couldn't do that because of pending responsibilities at the university). Our host was the lovely poet Juliette Lee, who'd just published Christopher's stunning, new little chapbook, Slip (see photo at left), in which Christopher does his thang on the art tip. (And Juliette handsewed the books, as you can see.) She and her boyfriend, poet Eric Baus (author of the award-winning tome The To Word) were absolutely wonderful. I didn' t want to stop hanging out with them or perusing their library. The reading was a lot of fun. I have to say, it's always exciting when you go far away from home and have a packed audience, and it's even more exciting when people you know attend. Among those present were Keguro Macharia, a brilliant young scholar who used to be on a list (LGBTPoC) I was on years ago, and the incomparably (yes, it's one of my favorite adjectives/adverbs) talented Ronaldo V. Wilson (a/k/a Bro V[ergili]o, who characterized the reading like this (I quote directly and without permission from his email):

Congratulations to John and Che for a very wonderful reading @ Amherst Books this Saturday; I'm dying to see Seismosis in its full, rigorous and drawn flesh. In any case, these two brilliances, are making marks, beating, breaking and squiggling out the possibility of our beloved bodies as texts, selves, re-orienting matter, so that when I (oh how happy was I to see them building...) see these images of blacks, stacked, say on my kitchen counter, or on my wall, at home, or in my office, or in my day-dreams, I have a refererence point, a mark [1]: everyone I think needs a place to start. This is what I love about the intersections between their writings in its current state, live, in print, and what will I see next? All I gots to say is I'm inspired: No shame in my graphite, number two, or my cobalt pens, or my ink-drying, and printing, some that works, some that doesn't. Eureka! If you get a chance to see these guys, live, reading, do go: how they work [2] in the radar beam of drawing, the possibility, out and into the range of black (--------------------) circumstance, point of view, view of point(al)isms, blasting out of that CELL -- out of lines, in lines, then out of that, into layer, surface, draft, body, bringing, my, me, see? Into what it means to be, getting free, by the giving up of angles: past seeing point, marks, and meeting me most where I needed it the other night in our corner of a table at a wooden bar, pondering the plight, terror and joy of the prison-mute and the lines behind and in him:

che [1] and J. [2]

Bra Vo. Thank you. Ronaldo

It was a great way to spend a Saturday, and it also wasn't too far away from New Jersey (home...)!


  1. I do wish I could have caught you all!

  2. Mendi, thanks--it was definitely a blast, and so wonderful to see Vergilonian there!

  3. ahem,

    brilliant? I take it with due modesty

    I still owe you an email--will be sending soon, very soon, on my list of things to do

    and the reading was absolutely wonderful! What a treat to see you and Thomas Glave within days of each other!