The Poetry of Everyday Life, by Steve Zeitlin, hit the stores this month. The book is a lovely meditation on the nooks and crannies of daily life where poetic moments are nestled. Throughout the book the reader meets poets who have captured and paid homage to those moments. A few weeks ago I got to hear some of those poets in person as they read from the book in a lively and jam-packed book party on the Lower East Side in Manhattan at City Lore, where Steve is founding director.
One night I had a dream in which I tried to navigate the narrative of my dream using the Word toolbars (both Standard and Formatting).
We manuscript editors spend our days with manuscripts and page proofs, e-mail and monitors; some of us don’t get out much, or at least as often as some of our colleagues in other departments. One night I had a dream in which I tried to navigate the narrative of my dream using the Word toolbars (both Standard and Formatting). So I thought, when you get an opportunity to attend an event for a book you got to know really well during the editing and production process and see what actually happens when it hits the world, along with a chance to get down to the city, it is a good idea to seize it!
It was a pretty good drive downstate: the leaves from Ithaca to NYC were at their peak, probably the most vivid fall colors I’ve ever seen, almost a parody. In New Jersey a buck with stunning antlers appeared on the hood of the car, embraced the windshield, did a dive roll onto the parallel pavement, and took off, leaving only a half-inch dent on the car.
We emerged from the Broadway Lafayette subway stop into lower Manhattan, which was totally hopping on a Saturday night, found City Lore, and realized the book event was overflowing the space onto the sidewalk and was in full swing: readings, dancing, food, wine, poets and fans, and the author emceeing. It was cool and fun to see Fran Benson, who acquired the book and who works from a New York office, meet her daughter, Emily, a poet who also lives in the city, and of course to meet Steve in person after working closely with him for many months.
The Poetry of Everyday Life is a lovely meditation on the nooks and crannies of daily life where poetic moments are nestled.
If you get a chance to read the book, don’t miss the performance artist Annie Lanzillotto’s suspenseful poem about playing stick ball in the street (page 125). Annie read it at the event and brought her mother’s broomstick and a Spaldeen, stars of the poem, as props. The strong voice I knew from the poem exactly matched the woman in person. It was one of those rare moments when your work project transcends its projectness and its workness and reveals its provenance in real life.
Ange Romeo-Hall is the Managing Editor at Cornell University Press and only occasionally dreams in Microsoft Word.
The Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the Art of Awareness
By Steve Zeitlin