Brooklyn Book Festival Ends With Bands and Poets

The 6,200 foot converted warehouse, Littlefield, in the EPA hotzone of Gowanus was a little dark and red-lit but welcoming when the Brooklyn Book Festival finally came to a close late Sunday. The Copper Canyon Press Listening Party, hosted by Brooklyn poet Ted Dodson, brought together musical acts and award-winning poets.

Dodson, with the help of some folks on the Littlefield staff, curated the event as a way to offer one more intellectual gemstone to the bookworm-juggernaut-weekend that reigned on Brooklyn from Friday evening to late Sunday night.  To lighten the perhaps heavy appearance of four poets reading, Dodson split the night in half with musical acts—Mountains and Lymbyc Systym.

Mountains are a two-man, Brooklyn-based experimental band who formed in Chicago and have two albums out: Choral and Etching. They plastered the stage with electric cords, pedals, synthesizer wires and played a montage piece that “ambient” would be a bad word to use as a referent here. Lymbyc Systym, also a two-man band, has been together since 2001 and made use of what looked to be a couple of toy guitars among other intriguing instruments; they have three albums out—Carved By Glaciers, Love Your Abuser and Shutter Release. Dodson said he “couldn’t have been more grateful” with how the night went.

For anyone who has been living on a BP oil rig or Easter Island and hasn’t heard of Copper Canyon Press, it’s going to be okay. Copper Canyon’s published over 350 books of poetry—a type of literature they publish exclusively—and is the literary residence to the likes of: W.S. Merwin, Pablo Neruda, Lucille Clifton, Hayden Carruth, and the four spectacular poets who performed last night, listed below with the titles of the pieces they read (an ellipsis will be placed after a poem where the title may be incorrect, all apologies to the authors if anything else is erroneously stated):

Ben Lerner

from “the Doppler Elegies” (in 8 parts)

from “Rotation” (a new poem, in 6 parts)

Brenda Shaughnessy

“I’m Over The Moon”

“Head Handed”

“The World’s Arm”

Freud poem

“I Wish I Had More Sisters” (forthcoming in next week’s New Yorker)

“Your One Good Dress”



“Why Is the Color of Snow”

Music rendered by Mountains

Chris Martin

Neurological Transfigurations . . .

“It” (performance piece, read with Mark Bibbins)

from Hymns :

“The Bear”

“The Tongue

“The Jungle”

“The Stars”

“The Trees”

“The Voice”

Rap Poem

Mark Bibbins

“Two More”

“Simile’s Liberation Army”

“Pat Robertson’s Transubstantiation Engine #1”

“Pat Robertson’s Transubstantiation Engine #2”

“And Does This Team Look Tasty in Attack”

“We, The Reader”


“It Buds, It Bends, It Dies in the Glare”

“Why don’t we split open”

“Unity, Utility, Ubiquity”

“My Last Three Names Are My Three Middle Names”

“Contra Cartoons”

“The Beginning of What Didn’t Happen”


Music rendered by Lymbyc Systym

-Ken L. Walker