Went to a reading at the local indie bookstore Thursday night by poet, writer, and critic David Lehman, whose work I knew mainly through a couple of poetry anthologies. GREAT AMERICAN PROSE POEMS is a book I return to regularly every year or so. But I couldn’t find my copy for him to sign (waaah!).
I’d only heard about the event on Monday, which was shock number one. Shock number two was that I never knew he had an Ithaca connection. Shock number three was his new book ONE HUNDRED AUTOBIOGRAPHIES which, as you can probably glean of the types of things I like reading, is right up my alley. I picked up the ebook and read what I could before Thursday night.
The book is made up of writing he did as he underwent cancer treatment. In this way, its form reminds me of Harvey Pekar’s OUR CANCER YEAR. Interestingly, Pekar’s wife Joyce Brabner was a collaborator, much as Lehman’s partner Stacey Lehman-Harwood was with AUTOBIOGRAPHIES. I was only to about the 12th or 13th section by the reading, but I got a kick out of hearing a legend read out loud what I’d just read a few nights before.