Monday, April 6, 2009

In Which I Finally Become Too Cool to Live


Last night, Marianne and I drove up to NYC to catch Philip Glass and Patti Smith performing at the City Winery. The evening was titled "Footnote to Howl, The Poet Speaks, Homage to Allen Ginsberg," and was held twelve years to the day after the poet's death. Which was an event Smith and I believe Glass too were present to witness. So Glass played piano (is anybody surprised that he's a brilliant pianist?) while Smith read Ginsberg's poetry. Plus some of Smith's poetry and songs and a couple of Glass's etudes, and a fair amount of reminiscing about "Allen's passing."

Patti Smith really did manage to catch that incantatory-prophetic thing that Ginsberg's best poetry embodies. I thought her reading of "Wichita Kansas Vortex" was the highlight of the evening, but Marianne thought it might have been a poem about Manhattan which was (I blush to admit) new to us both.

So, having been there, I am now officially too cool to live.

Allen Ginsberg breezed through Williamsburg back when I was in college, as he did from time to time, on the day when a total eclipse of the sun was visible from nearby Norfolk. A couple of my friends saw him in a diner and went to say hello.

"Did you see the eclipse?" he asked them. "Oh, it was mad! Mad!"



Victoria Janssen said...

You're so cool now, everyone should call you "Popsicle."

Michael Swanwick said...

I've been called a "sucker" often enough. Does that count?