Printers' Ball Project + Escritorio Publico + Gulf Tragedy Video + Apatowed Out

Last night I dropped by Columbia College Chicago's Center for Book and Paper Arts to participate in a project organized in part by Fred Sasaki, of the Poetry Foundation, pairing writers and print artists from the Printers Guild.  In combo, we'll be creating original pieces that will be displayed in an art book during the 6th Annual Ball, which takes place on July 30.  I've never attended, but I'm excited to have something included in the event. We were asked to bring an object which the printers would select to select us; I bought a baked good, a cookie (in the shape of a star). Food and a metaphor all at once. We were also suggested to bring a previously unpublished poem, something perhaps old but serviceable, so I brought a poem I've never published, but have tinkered with for years, "Serenade," finally getting it close to right, I believe, last December where I read it in English and, in translated Italian, at the poetry festival. It's a simple enough idea: each stanza of quatrains represents a season, represented by the naming of a month, seasonal tropes or metaphors, and an appropriate image; and it's a love poem and a serenade, so the words "I love you" repeat in each one. I used to worry that it was a bit sentimental, but as I get older I care less, I think (and reading up a bit on sentimentalism has also shifted my position a little). My Italian hosts got immediately that it was a "New York" poem--I have written poems or stories set in every place I've lived, save Charlottesville (none is forthcoming, and perhaps never will be)--which I hadn't really focused on, so it may be a bit jarring in a Chicago setting, but Big Shoulders, with its skyscrapers and business bustle and cosmopolitan diversity and slumlords and corrupt pols and rivers and sea-like lake and all can hang, so it should fly. I had my camera at the ready, so here're a few shots, one featuring two particularly great poets:

At the Center for Book and Paper Arts, Columbia College
The printers' selection of our unique "objects" which led to their selection of us
Ed Roberson and Mayakovsky
Ed Roberson and Vladimir Mayakovsky
Ed and Fred Sasaki
Ed and Fred Sasaki
Poets and print artists
More poets and printers (poet Lisa Janssen is in the purple dress)


This sunny but cool afternoon I dropped by the first part of poet and translator Jen Hofer's "Escritório Público: public letter writing," at the 6-corner intersection near Chicago's Blue Line Damen Station. There she was, folding table bearing a typewriter before her, composing off the top general letters ($2), love letters ($3), and illicit love letters ($5), in English or Spanish, based on the participant's wishes and directions. She even offered a choice of colored papers and stamps, and provided a standard-size envelope. I sat, chose blue, and went with a combo of the first and second, recounting the events of the day and C's role in them, so the letter was to him. It was fun, Jen's skillful renderings really turned my thoughts into something poetic, and as we sat there, she typing and I watching, we drew a lot of attention, including some eager young people who filled the chair as soon as I got up. All the while, the temperature steadily dropped and music blared from restaurant speakers above us, and the El trains rumbled in the near distance. As for the contents of my letter, only a certain few people will see them!

Jen Hofer typing
Jen Hofer, composing away
Participating in Part 1 of Jen Hofer's Escritorio Público performance piece
The letter writer and yours truly
Wicker Park passersby
Wicker Park Passersby
> > >
The rest of this program continues on Saturday evening, with more participatory events to come. The info:

Red Rover Series
{readings that play with reading}

Experiment #37:
Public Words - Letters & Interviews

David Emanuel
Jen Hofer
Anne Elizabeth Moore

7-9pm at Outer Space Studio
1474 N. Milwaukee Ave, 3rd floor
suggested donation $4

David Emanuel asks participants to assemble and write letters onto the pages of their own handbound chapbooks or zines. Materials will be supplied.

Anne Elizabeth Moore invites Chicagoans down to do a short interview about their city, lives, and what they think about the world. Know someone with a great Chicago story? Bring them or prepare to tell yours!


This is what BP doesn't want you to see or journalists to talk about, and the images are from just at one beach in Louisiana:

Tragically, it's only getting worse as ecoterrorists BP and the government bumble along. Tomorrow, I believe, they're aiming for yet another Hail Mary....


Okay. I get that Russell Brand is the (British-imported) laddish flavor of the month. (Who is Russell Brand?) But I still must ask Hollywood, can we not see more than 1-2 films starring Jonah Hill, or anyone associated with the Judd Apatow-Seth Rogen crew, if even that many, per year, please? PLEASE? There are millions of stories to tell that do not involve this gang or their puerile and decreasingly funny bro(m)-antics.  So please, Hollywood or someone else in the US with access to DV or film stock, create and distribute some other films. Please!