A little while ago, Baby George III, accompanied by his mommy Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, traveled all the to Gowanus Brooklyn to see a reading featuring the poetry power couple behind Action Books, Joyelle McSweeney and Johannes Göransson, as well the award-winning Tomaž Šalamun.
The reading was held in the offices of Ugly Duckling Presse. It was crowded. There was standing room only. There was also an array of food, including pretzels, pears, and nuts. But, much to Baby George III’s chagrin, there was no Willie Nelson’s Country Peach Cobbler ice cream.
First to read was Joyelle. Joyelle wore a red tank top and blue bottoms. She was sporty and informal. Joyelle sang and made hand gestures. It was a feverish performance, comparable to that of a reveled preacher.
Following Joyelle was Johannes. Johannes, too, took to informal attire, wearing a collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up, as if he was about to get his hands dirty.
Johannes read his translations of Henry Parland, the infamous Sweedish poetry boy. Supposedly, Henry had an affair with a much older woman. Baby George III would consider an affair with a much older woman if that older woman would obilterate all the subjects who inveighed against his justifiable taxes and rejoined America with its rightful master, Great Britain.
The final reader, Tomaž, broke the style pattern and went formal with a blazer. Tomaž poems touched on many stark themes, including language and suicide. Baby George III thinks about suicide, especially when he dwells on the fact that he lives in a country that doesn’t honor kings, queens, or lords.