This morning I was unable to track down where Cori Copp was reading and I was determined to go. I got part of the story on her Google page, but then decided to post a blog asking her this afternoon and for some reason I had a hunch she might check -fait acompli- today and fortunately for me, she did! By the way, as I wrote below, this banner ad was flying above her site: "Find Nick: Contact Nick" (See below)
I kid you not! One of those synchronicities that seem to happen to bloggers constantly, especially when they get in touch with each other regularly. I had just come home from a day at the Metropolitan Museum and seeing X2 (XMEN 2). I wanted to go to Cori's reading but I didn't have the address and I didn't get home until after 6:30pm and the reading started at 7. After checking Cori's blog with her note to me, I sort of ran to the #2 train which is a quick trip down to Chambers Street. So I went down to the First Tuesday series which is located at 142 Duane Street in a comfortable, nicely laid out, lovely small gallery. I walked in and saw my friend Vicky Hudspith there and she introduced me to Eddie Berrigan. Cori Copp led off, followed by Marco Villalobos, then Rachel Levitsky and Garrett Kallenberg. Cori Copp, who I had only just met last Sunday at the Zinc Bar, whose blog *Little Shirley Bean* is quickly becoming a favorite, is a very poised and attractive reader who writes with wit and depth, a rare combination. In a clear voice she read a strong group of poems, each constructed thematically, yet each encompassing multiple and overlapping facets, read in a steady voice that resonated more and more complexly with her material as she got warmed to the situation and became comfortable with the audience. She stopped to kid once about her own height vis a vis that of the podium, but she didn't undercut the the work's complications with a lot of comedy (this was clearly a choice, as she is a good comic also: you can tell, just talking with her and noticing the quirky moments in her texts.) Cori read in a clear, but not exagerrated or overwhelming voice. Her work reflected a level of quality and interest where I have to restrain myself from begging the poet to let me read all the poems immediately after the reading. They were witty, rich, layered, resonant and complex. Her reading did them more and more justice as she continued at a good quick pace, quick enough to give the words and ideas a chance to resonate with each other and to give the listener a sense of each poem's proper pace and network of transformations. The poems were dense but individualized.This won me over because I like individual poems as individual personalites, not as conceptual wallpaper.Later I asked her for the titles because a poem's titles frequently telegraph the range of a poet's understanding of the complex issues that pervade how to introduce poems to their readers. Cori's titles are great: "Ploditics." I loved this title and poem because it talks to the issue of the boring, and bogged down, pace of political discussion and exchange. The others were, "A Mad Day," "Past Antepartum" (my favorite), "Post Holiday," and "Ethics In Real Time." I was lucky to get to talk with some of Cori's friends including Eddie Berrigan (we discussed his father Ted who was my mentor and friend), Richard O'Connor who explained how I could do the collage animations on my IBook, and promised to answer some questions (I'd like to see his animations) and Jenny, who reads blogs a lot and feels she should cut down. Cori even asked her if she had read my blog! Thanks, Cori! The other readers were Rachel Levitky, Garrett Kallenberg and Marco Villalobos. All were well worth hearing and I would go to hear any of them again. I have Rachel's book "Under The Sun" (Futurepoem) and I plan to get Garrett's. Marco Villalobos sold me his chapbook "barrio gold."
Cori asked me at the gallery if I was joining them and I said "Definitely" and the next second she was gone! I went out there and looked all over. Her friend, Richard O'Conner, was saying goodbye to Cori on the corner and then she vanished! I figured maybe she was coming back. So I waited for Rachel (who I got to know last week when I read with her and Jerome Sala at the Ceres Gallery) who then said Cori had gone across the street. I got to hang out some more with Chris, whose introductions I like a lot and has a way of reading more poetry on the breaks, a sense of devotion to the art I really enjoy seeing. I talked with Rachel and her friend Erica Kauffman, a recent MFA graduate poet from the New School. My friend Elaine Equi was her mentor and she's met Jerome Sala, her husband, who read with me and Rachel last week. We talked about SoftSkull Press and the fact that they've accepted Jerome's book and what a terrific press it is. I mentioned that they are looking at a book of Jim Behrle's also. She mentioned she had some poems on his Give Me My Ball Back site.
After the reading, Cori was sitting at this great cafe across the street. You have to be swift to keep up with Cori; *she's* damn well not a plodder! The cafe, on West Broadway across from Duane, features a terrific $3 artist's meal, which is a burger, salad or pasta dish! Pretty good, especially for the price. Over a beer, Cori and I talked about her poetry, blogging, her jobs and her plans for the future. She was sitting with a table of friends who clearly admired her but were amiable, low key and easy to be around: Eddie Berrigan, was sitting outside at the table, another guy I never met and Cori's firend Jenny.
A little later Cori sat down with me, gave me the list of poems and talked with me about "Past Antepartum." This refers to the period of time before the pregnancy as compared to postpartum which is the time after. Cori believes, and I happen to agree with this, that children may know things from previous lives, or the time previous to life, during pregnancy. Then the knowledge is lost as the child gets older. She remembers saying certain words to her mother (perhaps she will remind me of what these were) that she could not possibly have any inkling of living in Lawrence, Kansas at the age of 2. Cori clearly distrusts new age cliches, but she's not too cool to talk about thoughts of past lives and the interesting things children get into at a very early age and then seem to forget once they get older.
Cori came to New York three years ago, after a short restay in Colorado, after living and going to school in New Orleans. She hasn't lived in Kansas since she was 11, at which time she moved to Colorado. She has been working at the Poetry Project , at BAM and Dance Theater Worshop. She's thought of going for a Bard, MFA, but she's in no hurry. Cori has an interesting way of establishing a pace for her poems and performances that I kept noticing she will apply to other things like plans or activities; when poems or actions come across as being governed by thought, then form has a better way of establishing content and vice versa. No limit to the areas of life wherein we might establish an individual stride. It's a freeing notion that reminds me of Goethe's aphorism: "Never hurry, never rest." Cori Copp has a way of establishing a suitable stride, particularly in relation to all things surrounding her poetry, which is what a poet should be doing, of course; the notion is catchy and that's not a bad thing.