Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ashbery in Vanderbilt Hall

My trek into the city to hear John Ashbery read started in a rush.  After recording subway directions and train times into my tiny Hello Kitty notebook I had about 20 minutes to get downtown to hop the train to NY.  My before-train ritual includes buying coffee from the cafe across from the train station.  So I ran there and back again, bought my ticket and waited on the platform.  Train rides can be so calming and a great place to read so I grabbed a medium sized book, The Art of Loving:  An Inquiry into the Nature of Love, by Erich Fromm, off my shelf before leaving the house.  So the train ride ends at Grand Central then take 2 subways to get me to within 2 minutes of Washington Square.  I get lost.  haha...

Leave it to me to draw the most unhelpful map.  I walk around for 20 minutes and take in the sights of Soho, buy a tuna salad sandwich at a deli and almost give up finding MacDouglal Street to see La Danse at a tiny theater on some side street.  I'm glad I didn't see the movie because I did find Vanderbilt Hall and hear Ashbery. 

He reads with such control and humor that everyone hangs on his words and chuckle in unison at the end of lines.  One poem in particular which is comprised of movie titles has everyone folded over.  After the reading I almost walk out of the door without buying a book or having anything signed but change my mind.  I probably won't see him again and decide that meeting him would be something I'd remember forever.  Plus the books were being sold at a discount so I took advantage and buy Notes from the Air selected later poems. 

When I get up to meet him and have the book signed I don't say much.  He keeps looking at me as if he expects more or maybe I just look silly with my big grin.  I tell him it's such a pleasure to meet him and does he mind  if I take a picture for my blog.  Still with the strange look on his face he says something like, "sure, it's ok," smiles and addresses the next person in line.

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