US trip part 2: Reading at the Poetry Center, San Francisco

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, October 3, 2010
I'm late with this update on my reading in San Francisco over a week ago (Sat 25 Sept). After a wonderful sojourn of two weeks in the US, we had a pretty tedious trip back, courtesy of a British Airways flight delayed by nine hours. It wasn't quite as bad as the eight-hour delay returning from Cuba two years ago - San Francisco International offers slightly more amenities than Havana airport - but it's not how I want to spend my waking hours.

Anyway, two days back in the UK I still feel semi-dead. Serves me right for prefacing my reading from "Bardo" to all the good folk at the Meridian Gallery, San Francisco, by explaining that a bardo could be any interval: the gap between death and rebirth, or a wait in an airport lounge. The jealous gods were clearly determined that I had to actually experience that one again.

I was reading with Myung Mi Kim, fine Korean-American poet who now heads the Poetics Program at SUNY Buffalo. Thanks for my gig to Steve Dickison, director of the Poetry Center, whose introduction was exemplary. The reading took place in an upper room in the gallery which was so long and narrow it was nearly a corridor, but had very good lighting and acoustics - would that more British poetry venues were as well suited. I guess there were 50 or so people in the audience, among whom I had the good fortune to meet Alan Bernheimer, Norma Cole, Kathleen Fraser, Susan Gevirtz, Stephen Vincent, Beverly Dahlen among others.

Following the excerpt from "Bardo" ("Green" from my Oystercatcher Press pamphlet), I read "City of Reclamation" from Nostalgia for Unknown Cities. The reading was videoed. Steve tells me the video will be added to the Poetry Center archive - I hadn't realised the series dated back to the 1950s, and the (mainly sound) archive has a lot of priceless stuff, going back to Theodore Roethke in 1954, some of which has emerged on UPenn, but much of which is still to be heard or seen publicly.

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Ken Edwards This blog is written by Ken Edwards, co-founder and editor/publisher of Reality Street, and it's mainly about the press. Ken's personal blog can now be found at