Grace Paley, the award-winning poet and short-story-writer, passed away earlier this year, and an excellent collection of her fellow writers will be reading at and participating in the Grace Paley Tribute, organized by Poets House and the 92nd Street Y, happening this evening at the Tishman Auditorium, at the New School. Kind of like Biggie, Paley had just finished a forthcoming collection before she died, titled Fidelity: A Book of Poems. She was also the poet laureate of Vermont, until shortly before her death.
It’s a completely free opportunity to see such greats as Amy Hempel, Wesley Brown, Allan Gurganus, A.M. Homes, Galway Kinnell,
Naomi Replansky, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Gerald Stern and Jean Valentine in the flesh.
It starts at 7pm and runs until 9. I pasted a poem of hers after the jump. It’s a sad one.
My friend tells me
a man in my house jumped off the roof
the roof is the eighth floor of this building
the roof door was locked how did he manage?
his girlfriend had said goodbye I’m leaving
he was 22
his mother and father were hurrying
at that very moment
from upstate to help him move out of Brooklyn
they had heard about the girl
the people who usually look up
and call jump jump did not see him
the life savers who creep around the back staircases
and reach the roof’s edge just in time
never got their chance he meant it he wanted
only one person to know
did he imagine that she would grieve
all her young life away tell everyone
this boy I kind of lived with last year
he died on account of me
my friend was not interested he said you’re always
inventing stuff what I want to know how could he throw
his life away how do these guys do it
just like that and here I am fighting this
ferocious insane vindictive virus day and
night day and night and for what? for only
one thing this life this life