Stacy Doris and Katie Degentesh at the Bowery Poetry Club, Saturday March 13, 2010
The "Segue Series", sponsored by the Segue Foundation which includes Roof Books, goes back to 1977 at the Ear Inn, making it just 33 years old. Can you believe that Nada Gordon and Gary Sullivan have been curating it for two months every year for 10 years now? Anyway (which was the name of the restaurant a few of us went out to tonight after the reading) Gary and Nada have every reason to be proud, for tonight's offering was totally memorable.
At one point early in her reading, Stacy called for a martini which was soon supplied by publisher James Sherry. Someone shouted out, "now that's a publisher!" Instant applause and well, I had to put my hands together to agree. The mood of elegance was instantly set, but Stacy did not really need this particular detail to supply it. Later, Stacy mentioned that she had promised herself to learn German by the age of 40. Of course she should learn German: she is our poetry Marlene Dietrich, no doubt about that. Stacy could have sat there sipping her drink as the whole show, it wouldn't matter. At this point, we all had an instant lesson in what hipness is, could or should be. Stacy misses New York, and New York completely misses her. By the way, she also read some terrific work. First, a manifesto (strangely, and perhaps one day famously, refused by MOMA), then a guide to psychic nutrition (evidently one of her many talents), but also what she described, jokingly, I think, as a translation of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. There's the German again, but we should say, the European again, for, as we know, France is Stacy's second home, in which language some of her work has been written and published, Greece perhaps her third, San Francisco being her current place of teaching work and family life. The third work, for me, the "Hegelian" one, actually pleasurably reminded me of Bernadette Mayer's masterpiece Studying Hunger. Stacy Doris’s "Phenomenology" is just that, taking you tellingly, and secretly inside everyday thought and feeling, but within a rhythmic style of literary syncopation that gently walks the listener/reader through internal experience in a vivid novelistic, cinematic way, reminiscent for me of Antonioni's early trilogy, that included L'Aventura. Stacy Doris as Monica Vitti? Easily, very easily, says I. As Stacy Doris writes in her (2000) book Conference: "What the movie taught me: Time's an enchantment. Refusal never stops, and memory's its opposite. Memory whisks us away, sweeps us off and beyond. The art of living in time where there is none is memory."