Meeting John Giorno.
Nearly every shop in town not only includes the festival poster but has incorporated the poster or the idea of the poetry festival into its display. The festival is integrated into the community and its good to be around. The performance tonight is at Teatro Communale inMonfalcone.
At the venue the video artist giacomo verde will use small things on a computer screen with a camera – the effect is amazing – that are then projected onto a massive. There’s no such thing as background music so there’s no such thing as a backdrop, but you seewhat I mean. It’s amazing what he does with a scour pad and a camera. Patrizia Valduga the Italian poet has not turned up. There is some kind of train strike today. Christian Siniccio performed with music by Baby Gelido and Daniele e stefano which was mostexcellente! Very Kraftwork. I walk on stage in crumpled white clothes and do what I do the best or worst. I do the gig. I walk the plank and I dive in. Somewhere between the beginning and end happens.
I give it my all and the audience give me an encore. which is nice - considering I am speaking in english. I always think that an encore for a live poetry gig is a special thing. But an encore in another language at a poetry gig has got to be special. Poetry isnot rock and roll, it’s edgier. As I walk off the stage a tall Italian New Yorker holds my head in his hands kisses my cheek as is the Italian (and habersha) way . “Brilliant” he says “Magnificent” .
Later I watch John Giorno on stage, a man in his seventies with the energy of someone half his age. And I hear his story unfold of the last minutes of his friend William Burroughs life. He was there. I get goose pimples. I always ask people about The South Bank. I knew he would have read there. He tells me he was there at Patti Smith’s Meltdown. I was there too reading. I did the same meltdown festival. But John Giorno, now that’s the name of a poet right. John Giorno . It’s warm here in Italy. Tomorrow I will spend the eighthour journey back to London. That can’t be right. Eight Hours?