West Chester was fantastic. My brain is still full of information and swimming with crazy poetry.
If you didn't go -- and you're a poet who reads this blog -- you NEED to go next year.
Here's a breakdown of the weekend as I saw it:
I arrived late on Wednesday (missed the damn banquet, etc.) but got to meet Quincy Lehr and David Landrum and a few others of Eratosphere fame. Woo hoo -- free wine.
On Thursday I wandered around for a bit, talking with Davids Yezzi and Mason and Mad Dog Gioia who has a memory for conversation that bespeaks one qualified to climb the ladder of governmental arts.
Chatted a bit with Donald Hall about Hall's interviews with Pound. Hall told me Pound's assessment of his political activities was that "he may have been a bit off base." All poets should be so aware.
Class started, a lovely jaunt on poetry in the classroom with the verse wonder-twins of tag-team wrastlin: the Pythoness of Poetry Moira Egan and the inimitable Rhina P. Espaillat. Thursday night I brought my mandolin and strummed up with Michael and Krys, Mike teaching me more in 10 minutes about the mandolin than I had learned in 10 years of owning one.
Friday brought more classes and a jaunty private chortle with critic-god Christopher Ricks ("how about Beckett? He's quite good too, what?") whose lecture reminded me why I wanted to go to U Boston for grad school when I was a wee sophomore.
Friday night birthed full-on bluegrass with the Mike & Mike show, Yezzi-brand Banjo, and harps from as far away as Scotland. Oh 'twas glorious. After having my Glenrothes stolen (tha bastards!) and Yez and I riffing on the banj till 1, I strolled up to Ernie's room and è stato un colpo di fulmine -- I met the impossible Jillian. A bad Christian girl with matchless skills in reimagining religious texts, I found a sure conspirator. We all boozed it up in Ernie's room till 4 or so, drunkenly reciting remembered favorite poems. Ah, poetry.
Saturday we wrapped things up, I bought two of JAE's books (expect reviews swoon), and we went to the (indoors, unfortunately) picnic. Heather and the girls were supposed to join us but were caught up at the Adventure farm and so arrived after most everyone had left. No matter, everyone who met them now knows my girls rank on the cuteness scale at at over 9000 yottaharo (Haro Kiti [that's Hello Kitty, y'all] being 1 unit of "cute" -- most of your standard lol-fare rates on the kiloharo range, a megaharo would be Hayley Mills in Pollyanna, a petaharo Momo-tan, and my friggin adorable daughters are off the yotta, yo -- but I digress).
Saturday night brought more booze and schmooze but in a cramped ballroom, so of a decidedly less-fun flavor. I did have a great discussion with Our Photographer (ha!) Daniel Lin that will (I hope!) bear fruit. Once most people started to leave, I did do some confabbing with the Mason (who tried to pour me a straw), J. Allyn Rosser (that's Jill to most of us), and The Jillian. Oh and Sam Gwynn and I liberated booze from the bar while Yezzi ran interference. w00t what!
All-in-all a fabulist's formalist dream. I await next year with open feet.