So the other night I did one of those trademark New York things that everyone else in the world imagines they want to do. It was an unsettling mingling of glamor and grit--women in gowns with actual trains, men who'd paid their stylists for grunge, ivory business cards, heply tossed expletives, white-jacketed waiters, d**k in a box, asparagus and prosciutto, pounding music, crystal chandeliers, the YouTube guys, a barricaded avenue, lots of cameras and--last but not least--approximately two minutes of David Bowie, looking less like an cutting-edge rock pioneer than your foppish high school English teacher. (If you wanna see what a rock star should look like nowadays, check out the icy dismissive chic of our very own Nick Twemlow.)
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Webby Awards, a strange, loosely structured event that can't decide if its gleefully thumbing its nose at the Internet or fervently praying at its altar. I was there because the Poetry Foundation and the website you are now enjoying won an award. It's the coolest of the cool when it comes to what the Web has to offer. That's right---you are now wiling away the hours on an award-winning site.
Consider yourself blessed. Then, just for the hell of it, drop a few Mentos in a bottle of Coke, shake vigorously, and watch the fun. As I headed for the subway after the hoopla (no matter how I wished for a limo, it never materialized), merely a million cameras were trained on that jubilant chemical eruption, performed under the stars on a barricaded Wall St.
If I learned anything at all from my night on the red carpet side of the velvet rope, it's that even edgy achievers never ever grow up.

Originally Published: June 6th, 2007

Patricia Smith has been called “a testament to the power of words to change lives.” She is the author of seven books of poetry, including Incendiary Art (2017); Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (2012), which won the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler (2008), a chronicle...

  1. June 7, 2007
     David Grefrath

    Congrats Poetry Foundation! Keep up your left!