Laura Mayer is an Associate Producer at WNYC.
Lydia Davis and Eliot Weinberger Have High School Reunion at KGB Bar
Monday, November 07, 2011
Two famed poets, essayists and translators — Lydia Davis and Eliot Weinberger — recently read from new work at the True Story: Non-Fiction reading series at the KGB Bar in the East Village.
Davis ("The Varieties of Disturbance: Stories") and Weinberger (editor of "American Poetry Since 1950: Innovators & Outsiders"), who have been friends since high school, said they decided to call the genre in which they work "Poetry Essays."
"Lydia and I were trying to talk about, 'What do we call this genre?'" said Weinberger. "If you have prose poetry, this is sort of like poetry essay. Or poem essay or something like that, because it’s non-fiction but it looks like a poem."
- Lydia Davis on Weinberger: "I knew him when he was shorter than I was. Then, strangely, he grew. He changed. We were pals in high school and we’re still pals. He hasn’t changed much. I don’t know if I’ve changed. Coolest kid in high school I wasn’t. He was."
- Eliot Weinberger on Davis: "I’ve known Lydia since I was 13. As she said, she used to tower over me. I grew taller and she grew wiser. It’s not true that I was the coolest person in high school. Lydia was way cooler. She was like 'Nadia, Woman of Mystery.'"
- Davis on surprising reading selections: "[I'll then read] an excerpt from what will be an even-longer poem based on found material and written, largely in 19th-century American language. So it seemed like the least appropriate thing to read at the KGB Bar. But, we’ll see. I’ve never read it out loud, partly because it didn’t exist until a few days ago."
- Weinberger on surprising reading selections: "We’re both doing the same thing, which is reading a work that’s totally inappropriate for the East Village or the KGB bar."
- From Davis' "Our Village," a closing line: "The world has been for me, even from childhood, a great museum."