Six Buffalo writers rolled into Rochester Monday evening, driving several times past the entrance to Nox Comfort Foods and Cocktail Lounge before discovering their mistake and heading inside.
Nox proved an excellent host, with cocktails named for books and writers (we tried The Bell Jar, Farewell to Arms, and many Bukowskis) and great food, including orders of tabletop roast-your-own marshmallows. Not to be upstaged by sugar and gelatin confections, the readers gave performances passionate, semi-improvised, and frequently hilarious. As MC, I couldn’t have been more pleased to hear Ben Brindise slam, Megan Kemple grapple with the teats of the USS Sullivan, and Pat Kewley read intimate and illuminating passages from U.S. President Grover Cleveland’s diaries. We also watched Justin Karcher wake up spooning the skeleton of a shark, and heard Gerry Crinnin read through the entirety of his latest chapbook, Haiku to the Chief, before our featured reader, Rochester’s own Lytton Smith, took the stage. The Anglo-American poet, author most recently of The All-Purpose Magical Tent, and professor at SUNY Geneseo, prepared new material just for us, stealing lines from Donald Trump and Beyoncé and delighting us all.
Though our next official reading will be Tuesday, Oct. 4th in Fredonia, 6pm at 95 Newton Street, a few of the readers packed in additional stops in Buffalo.
Yesterday Ben, Justin, Megan, and Pat stopped by the Canisius College Library Learning Center to read in honor of Banned Books Week. The Whistle Stop readers read from Ginsberg, Bradbury, Hosseini, and Pushkin, and delivered extemporaneous lectures on Russian sculpture, America’s 21st century wars, and dangerous emotion in literature.
Today, Justin returned for a second time to his undergraduate home to take part in a panel of local poets who spoke with my ENG 101 class. Justin joined Canisius Creative Writing Professor Janet McNally, Peach Mag editor Rachelle Toarmino, and my friend and Foundlings co-editor Max Crinnin. My students had spent much of the previous week studying this diverse quartet, and the discussion was wide-ranging.
My ENG 101 students brought great, challenging questions for today’s poetry panel. The group — which will some day be as legendary as the time Ken Kesey met Jack Kerouac — was comprised of Justin Karcher, Rachelle Toarmino, Janet McNally, and Max Crinnin. Poets don’t recieve much fan mail, I heard once. That might change after today.
Catch us later on the tour: