Archive for Poetry Vending Machine

Literary Gauntlet

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 05/29/2011 by Tim

This weekend I finished reading Arthur Phillips’s new novel, The Tragedy of Arthur. I’ve been interested in Phillips since I read The Egyptologist, which was the first book to fully spring an unreliable narrator on me, and I was happy to find some similarly untrustworthy terrain in the narrative of this new story. The main conflict is driven by a manuscript that may or may not be a lost Shakespeare play; Arthur’s father, a serial forger, gives him the manuscript with a promise that it’s real, and Arthur, once he’s convinced, is glad to be working with his father, and glad for the wave of advance money rushing his way. By the time he again doubts the manuscript’s authenticity, he’s too late to stop the brilliant publicity machine he’s started.

Anyway, this novel is pretty good. It lacks some of the stark darkness of The Egyptologist, and some of its power–it is engaging, yes, and we feel for the characters, but they’re only a couple people, and nobody’s life is at stake, and the action takes place in Minneapolis apartments instead of in poorly-lit tombs. But I’m glad I read it, and if I was into Shakespeare I’d probably be gladder.

Today I worked my last shift at the Poetry Vending Machine, at the Orlando Fringe Festival. It has been a good time. (You can read a brief essay I wrote about it here). I sat with other writers for long hours that didn’t feel long, in lawn furniture that didn’t really feel uncomfortable, and we got a few customers, and wrote some poems. A couple people even tipped, and somebody paid with a beer.  My only regret is that I didn’t bother to see any shows that didn’t occur on the stage a few yards away.

And now, tonight, for the final few steps in this last week’s literary gauntlet, I’ll be in the audience at the city’s first Literary Death Match. Will there be blood? Probably. I’m hoping to see Ashley Inguanta do this to J. Bradley: