Weeks before it happened, I had heard about the Black Square Editions book party that was scheduled to take place at the signs and symbols art gallery at 249 East Houston. As the day approached, I looked forward to it as a sign that the pandemic was over, and I would be with people again.
On March 24, the day of the party, the poet Matt Proctor came over to my place in the early afternoon to let me record him reading from one of his recent diaries. The Black Square Editions party was scheduled to start at six-thirty so we left my apartment around quarter of seven—no poetry reading ever starts on time, especially one at an art gallery.
It was a simple stroll down Avenue B to East Houston, and there it was, signs and symbols, the reason why I live in New York, a party we entered, a welcome gathering of friends and acquaintances, faces I recognized, and faces I wanted to know.
Matt and I being Matt and I made our way to the bartender at the back who was handing out cold beers. She also made mezcal cocktails—I would have two, enjoying this delicious reunion, savoring what I hadn’t savored in a long time.
You Pair How, by the artist Carol Szymanski, was the current exhibit, art that was an investigation of language, translating speech visually, focusing on gesture. Hung on the walls were videos of hands that at times seemed to be beckoning, or praying. Photographs, neon, sketches, words abstracted, and paintings added to the conversation. You Pair How was striking and the perfect accompaniment for Anselm Berrigan, Marcella Durand, and Barry Schwabsky, the three poets who would be reading.
Poet, mover and shaker, and Black Square Editions publisher, John Yau emceed the event with delight and affection. I hadn’t been so happy to be somewhere in a while. You will hear and see it all in the Vimeo below. Enjoy.
Pregrets is published by Black Square Editions. You can check it out here:
You can check out To husband is to tender here:
Feelings of And, check it out here: