Dispatch from NBCC Reading at NYU Bookstore

By Jane Ciabattari

Rainy night, Nor-easter approaching, and at NYU Bookstore, a rapt audience, including Rob Spillman of Tin House, novelist Jennifer Gilmore, Shaun Randol of The Mantle, Ibrahim Ahmad of Akashic Books, NBCC member Bruce Seymour down from New Haven. Brenda Shaughnessy read straight-shooting luscious poems from Interior with Sudden Joy, Human Dark with Sugar  (finalist for the 2008 NBCC poetry award) and a few new poems, with engaging quips in between (and how lovely to hear in the poet's voice “A Poet's Poem,” which begins “If it takes me all day, I will get the word freshened out of this poem,” and ends, “I can't stand myself”). Jayne Anne Phillips read the flood scene from her 2009 NBBCC fiction finalist Lark and Termite  (Lark carries Termite into attic as the floodwaters rise and rats swim ever upward).  Marlon James read (his Kingston accent warming us) from his 2009 NBCC fiction finalist The Book of Night Women (Chapter 5 in which Lilith is accursed by sasabonsam, “worse than poison,” and saved by Homer) and  his first novel, John Crow's Devil (ah, the whiskey preacher). Bios on all three here. (And thanks to NYU Bookstore manager Yael Yisraeli.