Road Trip: Day 3 – Akron, OH to Pittsburgh, PA

Road Trip: Day 3 – Akron, OH to Pittsburgh, PA

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We woke up the morning after the reading, and Mike pointed us towards a diner. (No, I cannot remember its name.) All that matters: old fashioned breakfast. We headed for Pittsburgh. It wasn’t that far of a drive—couple hours—so we listened to Jacob’s collection of hip-hop—OMG I’m now obsessed with Das Racist—and talked about poetry (obviously). Jacob and I worked on reading (if you want to be a compelling reader, work with Jacob. I’m. Not. Kidding.), and Sarah drove.

We were at Kelly’s place in the Polish Hill neighborhood fast. (She left the key for us.) We put our bags upstairs, got some snacks at the local coffee shop, and rolled out to where Jacob and I were appearing on Prosody, Pittsburgh’s NPR News Station 90.5 WESA  radio show. We got to meet and talk with JAN BEATTY! So cool. It was strange (in a good way) and really a treat to be able to talk about our work on the air. Also, not cursing on air is a challenge.

During Jacob’s interview, Sarah and I wrote him a rap. If you hang around us long enough, you will hear us rap those lines to Jacob at random times. Sarah came into the booth during my reading to read some poems from my forthcoming collaborative collection. It was a classy time in there.

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The host and poet, Renee, Kayla (MFA ’12), and Kelly (MFA ‘11) headed down the main drag. We went to Fat Heads, but it was packed, so we walked to a pizza place right near Delanie’s Coffee (where we were reading later). By the time we were done eating, the reading was about to start. Kayla hosted, Jacob read first, Sarah read second, I read third, and Renee read last.

The crowd there was great, supportive and warm, and they bought books like mad. Such a small, personal reading in such an amazing city: Needed. (I’ve been obsessed with Pittsburgh since I saw the film WonderboysI’m serious—and almost moved there in 2007 for an MFA, but instead went to New Mexico). But, seriously, I still hate the Steelers.

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After escaping a traffic jam, Kelly drove us around Pittsburgh. We saw the colleges and drove up Mount Washington to get a view of the city. Later, we met Ryann (MFA ’12) and went to a packed bar, escaped across the street to a little dive-bar, drank, and talked about the MFA program, poetry, po-biz, life, whatevs. After a while, we retreated back to Kelly’s. Sleep.

Kelly, Kayla, Renee, and Ryann, Thank you for welcoming us to your city, supporting us, being friends with us, hanging out, (Kelly) giving us a place to stay and giving us the night-tour, (Kayla) giving us the neighborhood tour, taking us to good food, putting together a reading just for us, being Kayla, setting us up with Renee and Jan, (Renee) inviting us on your show and interviewing us, (Ryann) randomly being in Pittsburgh. (All) It was a pleasure. We hope to see you around!

To Be Continued . . .