I have to get Sarah at the train station in a few minutes, a bit rushed here. But feeling warm & happy about Cambridge reading yesterday, courtesy of the mysterious Jim Behrle. Happy to meet Allen Bramhall & Beth, and hear him read his [afraid to use conventional adjective] poetry, which I enjoyed a great deal.
A fine thing today to see Allen had been reading my poems in Stone (written 30 yrs ago) & liking something he read.
About the photo : it was taken on Houston St, in my high school friend Chris Kraemer's loft looking over at the World Trade Center, in 1975. Chris was a promising photographer in NY, who made a living as a builder (he is an archetypal Finn from MN, whose dad ran a hardware store there). He knew some bigshot artists at the time, Vito Acconci, Susan Acolella(? - don't know who I'm talking about). Also a whacky Russian sculptor named Ernst Niesvestny. When Stone was published, Chris arranged a little party at his studio someplace in Williamsburg. I remember sitting on a huge wooden crucifix sculpture he had laid out on the floor, being toasted with vodka. The title Stone, of course, was an imitation of Mandelstam's first book, Kamen ("Stone") - an acronym of akme ("acmeism"). So this party felt appropriate. Chris married a New Zealand clothing designer so she could get a green card, & they ended up staying together & having kids. He lives out in the Bay Area now. That's his typewriter & cot (I use a Sears Constellation myself). I was living with them for a few months in NY, helping Chris on interior painting jobs etc, before going over to London to try to take Mick Taylor's place in the Rolling Stones.
(p.s. Monday morning : through Denny Moers, a former student of Robert Creeley & studio assistant to Aaron Siskind, I was able to get an actual Siskind photo for the cover of Stone - some sections of Inca wall in Cuzco. The Inca/stone/Mandelstam/Vallejo configuration shows up 25 yrs later in the penultimate sections of Forth of July. Yesterday was the traditional anniversary, by the way, not only of the death of John the Baptist, but of the execution of Atahualpa, the last Inca ruler.)