The 11th Street Bar was as packed as a herring barrel. The reading started on time, every reader stuck to the time limits, and no fakery was evident. Miraculously, everyone read work that was worth hearing. Hopler was vigorously lyrical, not as bawdy as he represents. Siken was knotty, associational. Strekfus was mythopoetic. Glück prophesied.

Afterwards, tipsy from a beer on an empty stomach, I walked and talked with a friend. At dinner, I read a poem to him. With generosity, good will, and enlightenment, this friend then ripped the guts out of the poem, splayed them out in front of me, and explained their pathology. Such criticism beats any praise.

On the bus home afterwards, I started some new poems. I didn't say they're good, but they're different.

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