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Well Met!

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Somehow, at around 3:30am, Jason, author Megan Abbott, Bruen, and I all wound up at a gay sports bar, where Bruen got up onstage beside the DJ and danced, very enthusiastically, to Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” as footage from the Packers game played on the big-screen TV overhead. It was very surreal, to say the least. And I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard, ever. I still love Ken Bruen’s brooding prose, but now, I smile a little when I read it.

—Alison Gaylin

Alison Gaylin’s Trashed was just published by Obsidian Books. Her Samantha Leiffer mysteries include the Edgar Award nominee Hide Your Eyes and You Kill Me.

Back in 1994, Ed Sanders issued an invitation to a hundred or so poets, requesting new verses to that noblest of hymns, “Amazing Grace.” That November, a gospel choir performed a selection of the verses at St. Mark’s Church in the East Village, with solo turns by several of the contributing poets, who warbled their lines to the backing of a sanctified ensemble on organ, guitar, and bass. I made the trip down from Woodstock with Ed’s wife, Miriam, and got to croon my own contribution. But the star of the show was Allen Ginsberg, who had written not merely a new stanza, but a whole new set of lyrics to the tune.

After the gig, as we piled into my car for the short hop over to Allen’s apartment, I mentioned that Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” scanned perfectly to the tune of “Amazing Grace,” and started to demonstrate: “Be-cause, I could, not stop, for Death, he kind-, -ly stopped, for me-eeee...” By the third line, Allen’s rich, shaggy baritone had joined in, and for two minutes in Eternity, we sang the poem together. It was a tiny bond, but I treasure it. Less than three years later, Death paid Allen the same courtesy as Emily, kindly stopping for him at 2:39am on April 5, 1997.

—Mikhail Horowitz

Poet/performance artist Mikhail Horowitz’s most recent book is
Rafting into the Afterlife (Codhill Press, 2007).

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