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Anselm Berrigan reads from Something for Everybody

No matter what, I was determined to get to Anselm Berrigan’s launch for Something for Everybody, his new book of poems, at Mast Books on Friday, November the 16th, although I had a pinched nerve causing pain in my left leg with every step I made, and on Thursday, the day before, there’d been a snowstorm that had left NYC, or me at least, feeling incapacitated.

Because we’d had no autumn, beginning with a summer-like October, most of the leaves on the trees stayed green without the cold to make them change and fall; consequently Thursday’s storm bowed the heavy leafy boughs to breaking with the heavier snow leaving branches broken on the streets and on the tops of cars, which is mostly what I saw, like some kind of end of the world, as I resolutely walked—every step an ouch—toward Fifth Street and Avenue A where Mast Books with all its right angle windows juts out shining brightly, an aura, a welcoming halo of the corner that continued to welcome as I opened the door and entered the room full of favorite things, people, wine and books.

The reading was scheduled to start at seven—It was seven when I arrived—but on the Lower East Side there is half an hour of grace at least before the poetry, so after my arrival others began arriving, mingling, the world outside cold and a mess, but inside growing warm with friends; and soon enough Anselm was up front, his book behind him on the wall, the poet, writer, teacher, husband, father, son, the myriad of things that Anselm Berrigan is, and nervous now also because a lot of folks had come to hear him, the place packed, but a smile stayed on his lips and his easy laugh laughed.

I’d brought my camera, though in the morning rush had forgotten the tripod, preparing to go to work, which initially had bummed me out, but holding the camera was good mobility as the reading began, me on a high stool, posture good, leg not aching much, trying to stay still as I could; and if you look at the Vimeo below, you will see that it was worth it, looking forward to a reading that would end with a poem about a time and a place where the spoken word is heard.

Something for Everybody is published by Wave Books. You can check them out here:


Sylvie Berrigan’s hand holding the stone she chose at Bill Kushner’s 80th birthday party, May 2012

Anselm Berrigan’s hand holding the stone he chose at Bill Kushner’s 80th birthday party, May 2012

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