Last week I attended the Best American Poetry 2008 Gala Launch Reading and had a grand old time. As always, it's a treat to be in the same room with living luminaries like John Ashbery and Richard Howard, and to hear them read their own poems out loud.
The format of this year's reading was interesting because the featured poets were able to read a combination of their own pieces selected for The Best American Poetry 2008, new works, and poems by colleagues who were not present.
One of the highlights of the evening was Charles Bernstein's stirring call for a Poetry Bailout to save us from "subprime poems". Not only did he have the audience in stitches, his call for an intervention in the unstable poetry markets made sound poetic sense to this listener. You can read Bernstein's full statement in Harper's Magazine here.
If you'd like to know more about the event, Kate Angus has a good write-up of the evening on the Best American Poetry blog, which can be read here. And you can also view some photos from the BAP gala here, too.