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Kenneth Goldsmith Ain’t No High-Paid Publicist

By Rachel Zucker

Wow Kenneth, you make your readings sound really unpleasant.
I love readings. Although maybe I wouldn’t love yours? But I think I would.
Sometimes, during a reading, I just sit and write. All that swirling language inspires me or perhaps, more accurately, occupies one part of my brain and allows another to be open to making poems. I’ve written a lot of poems at readings. Sometimes I really, really listen. Sometimes I admire the reader’s clothes or style (Cathy Wagner is HOT! Arielle Greenberg has this totally compelling reading thing she does: like a stance or a tone or a kind of come-hither thing, I can’t explain it) or drunkenness or craziness. Sometimes I give myself over to the pleasure of being entertained. Sometimes I sit and indulge in petty jealousy or in a kind of “well at least I don’t do THAT!” kind of thinking.
And readings are social events for me. Maybe what I’m saying is that I don’t get out enough, but readings are where I see poets I know well or a little and run into old friends. Of course I’d often rather just stay home and watch TV, but almost every time I go to a reading I’m glad I made the effort. The relative silence around a human voice—I imagine it is why some people like to go to church.

Comments (2)

  • On May 11, 2007 at 12:15 pm Brian Hadd wrote:

    Lectures neaten thought too. Boredom obviously really blows, though.
    The Hood Company

  • On May 12, 2007 at 2:06 am Jeffrey wrote:

    Hi Rachel,
    I think Kenny is a bit of a con man when it comes to readings. If we were betting on pool, he’d be setting us up, and about to take our money.
    He just read at Sarah Lawrence; (I was on baby duty and missed it, but) the people I talked to said he was very entertaining and compelling.
    Incidentally Rachel I enjoyed your reading at the Westside Y last February. I could feel your emotional involvement in your poems.
    It’s weird when I see poets read, and they seem to have no emotional connection to what they’ve written.
    D.A. Powell is another poet who I think reads very well.


Posted in Uncategorized on Wednesday, May 9th, 2007 by Rachel Zucker.