travelogue: NYCOctober 15, 2006
frenetic energy in NYC. had an amazing (short!) plane ride last tuesday morning, the highlight an engrossing chat with fellow passenger and opera tenor john mac master. illuminating conversation about opera and poetry, arts funding, national/international support of artists. it’s my first time meeting a librettist; can’t wait to see him perform.
from the air, i saw central park, la guardia airport, all of manhattan and brooklyn, the statue of liberty. on land, shocking temperature difference from toronto (75F on october 10, wow). found myself immediately overheated in vest and sweater, though not before i was stopped by two photographers in harlem asking to take my picture for little gray house, which they said would run a spread on new yorkers in fall attire. random.
i took the subway downtown (everyone i encountered was helpful in guiding me), and wandered looking for free wifi connectivity. had a long stroll down broadway before swooping to bowery, where i met margaret christakos. we enjoyed dinner at a charming restaurant (my treat: four oversized ricotta-filled ravioli with fresh sage and butter), and then headed to dixon place for belladonna* reading series.
margaret and i comprised the third all-canadian line-up (the others featuring nathalie stephens/rachel zolf and erin moure/lisa robertson, how stunning!). it was a thrill to meet organizer rachel levitsky, and especially kate greenstreet who embodied positivity. she passed me a copy of her brand new book case sensitive. also a thrill to meet brenda coultas, whose book a handmade museum is set in the bowery area of manhattan. met austin publicover, too, who’s in the process of editing/remixing readings by carla harryman and brenda iijima.
wednesday, i considered visiting museums and galleries, but chose instead to continue my wandering tour of NYC. on a future visit, i’ll likely delve into more structured events like gallery visits, but for my first true intro to NYC, i’m glad i chose to meander. since my visit, i’ve thought frequently of how NYC is its own organism; you can hear it breathing, hear it talking to itself in the beeps, wind, ambient noise. it’s amazing for me to consider a city as an organic form. structure. being. are the people parasites on/in its body? my analogy’s only half-grown here. anyone recommend reading/thinking along these lines?
wednesday afternoon, i found myself at mcnally robinson on prince street, a canadian bookstore nestled into the rush and grind of the big american city. on my way to sign books, i ran into aaron peck, who turned in a grand moment of synchronicity holding a copy of wide slumber to greet me. aaron’s the one friend i hoped to call while in town, so it was fated we ran into each other. i had tea with aaron, his sister tasha, and the lovely doretta lau. we then wandered through the streets of NOLI (aka North of Little Italy, according to my knowledgeable fellows) to a charming lunch-place called bread. doretta and i were passionately discussing larissa lai’s work and walked right past elijah wood without noticing him (aaron and tasha told us later and we laughed mightily). (‘we laughed mightily’ is a silly phrase, hey?) we then trailed tasha on a power-shopping excursion, and i abandoned the party once her ballet flats were safely purchased.
wednesday night, i read with jon paul fiorentino, margaret christakos, and sina queyras at Poets House. i was thrilled to meet kim rosenfield finally, and to see robert fitterman and stephanie strickland again.
thursday morning, a silly breakfast of carrot juice and french fries (actually quite gross, but my appetite was bizarre during this trip) and then the chinatown bus to philadelphia…