I Speak of the City

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007 | All Things, Arts, Books, Events

At the Times Square Visitors Information Center for a poetry reading celebrating the publication of I Speak of the City: Poems of New York. The event was sponsored by the Poetry Society of America, Columbia University Press and the Times Square Alliance.

Times Square Alliance

I Speak of the City

Some of the city’s and the nation’s most prominent poets were in attendance tonight: Andrea Carter Brown, “neglected master” Samuel Menashe, Tom Sleigh and Gerald Stern. I met up with J just as “Hip-Hop poet” Kevin Coval took the stage. He was followed by The Nation‘s former poetry editor, award-winning poet and distinguished professor of English at Baruch, Grace Schulman:

Grace Schulman

Harvey Shapiro came up to the podium next — still spry for his 80+ years — reading his contributions from the landmark collection of poems about the city. Shapiro, onetime editor of The New York Times Book Review, has been called the “reigning laureate of New York’s vox populi” by The Times; his pieces this evening were inspired by his New York neighborhoods.

Though most of the attendees seemed to fit the prototype of those you’d expect to see at a poetry reading (scholarly, elderly), there were a few among the audience who broke that mold. I like to think that these two young lads wandered in from the street, and stayed on, riveted by the beauty of the prose.

Young bohemians

Who says poetry is dead?

We didn’t stay for the entire event, or for the reception afterwards, but there will be another opportunity to mingle with the poets on Monday, October 29 when anthology editor Stephen Wolf and other contributors will be reading their impressions in verse at KGB Bar.

“I speak of the city that dreams us all, that all of us build and unbuild and rebuild as we dream, the city we all dream, that restlessly changes while we dream it, the city that wakes every hundred years and looks at itself in the mirror of a word and doesn’t recognize itself and goes back to sleep…”

Octavio Paz, “I Speak of the City

There are 2 Comments ... I Speak of the City

October 8, 2007

I think the dude on the left must be a time-traveler from the past, no one wears hats anymore.

October 9, 2007

I too thought the ensemble a little “ring-a-ding-ding” for a pre-teen boy.

Go for it ...