Poetry News

Tonight: Closing Reading of I ♥ John Giorno + Paris Review Daily Hops All Its Spots

By Harriet Staff
John Giorno

I ♥ John Giorno, "curated by Harry Burke, brings together John, his contemporaries, and a new generation of poets inspired by his work," writes Chantal McStay for the Paris Review Daily. The final reading of the city-wide exhibition is tonight, August 31, "on the roof of NYU’s Kimmel Center—[it] will feature poetry and performance by Anne Waldman (accompanied by Devin Brahja Waldman), Miguel Gutierrez, Kevin Killian, and Angel Nafis, along with a video work by Joan Jonas." A true art-goer, McStay went from venue to venue, and reviewed in detail her time at each one. For example:

New Museum

When I pick up the Dial-A-Poem telephone installed in the lobby here, I hear John Cage reading from his “45’ for a Speaker.” As I listen, I look out onto the Bowery at the restaurant-supply stores and imagine John Cage at the other end of the phone reading just for me. I can almost hear him lean on his elbow (as instructed in the piece) before he whistles three times: “The control must be at one point only and so / placed that it has no effect on anything that / happens: A technique which results in no technique, etc.” The black rotary phones are located at several of the stations of the exhibition, but they’re really just for show—you can call the revived Dial-A-Poem from anywhere at 1-641-793-8122 and hear Giorno introduce one of the dozens of poets who participated in the project—Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Vito Acconci, John Ashbery—before his or her voice comes on the line. The original iteration ran on ten telephone lines for five months in 1968; more than a million calls were received. Dial-A-Poem brought poetry out of traditional venues for a privileged few and into everyday life. It also put the listener in an active role, as the caller, rather than as a passive recipient of verse. I keep calling back, hoping to hear the one by Aram Saroyan again, about what makes a poem. Saroyan says he never knows how to answer that question.

Read more about Chantal McStay's experience of I ♥ John Giorno at Paris Review Daily.


Originally Published: August 30th, 2017