Sunday, May 04, 2008

Report: New York Book Launch.

Well, the book was successfully launched, and I am pleased to note that no one broke a bottle of champage over it or me. And no one forgot the launch code, though I did have a moment of panic walking along 21st Street when I realized I had forgotten my talk in my hotel room. The PP and I rushed back to the room, picked up my folder and notes, and reset the count-down. By the time we arrived at Gramercy Park, my co-editor had the launch pad all set up, and we checked that my PC-produced PowerPoint slides looked OK on her Mac, and we were set to go.

I am here to tell you that if you ever have the chance to visit the National Arts Club, you should do it. The glass-case-framed collection of ceramic and glass pug dog statues makes the trip worth it (they and an actual pug dog were the bequest of a member), but take time to check out some of the paintings. The word is that back in the day, member artists were expected to bequeath a painting in lieu of dues. You can learn more about the club's and its building's history here, but let me tell you: that illustration they have of one of the Tiffany stained-glass windows does it no justice. And right near the stairwell is a photograph of Yeats himself, taken when he visited the city in 1933. Apparently the organization can boast to be the only Yeats society in the world that meets in a building where Yeats actually spent any time. Now you know!

I believe the audience appreciated some of my little jokes about the tribulations and trials of textual editing, but I also realized how they did not really believe the details could be true--and also that I had already myself forgotten some of the worst bits, or at least the emotions involved. Perhaps this is necessary, as there is another volume now to be done.

I am happy to report that the launch in Atlanta (well, Decatur, really) at 7:30 p.m. on 17 May will not require a lecture from me. In fact, the folks hosting it have dubbed it a "Yeats Festival"! If you are in the greater Atlanta metro area, and you are inclined to attend, why not plan to recite or read or or sing or even chant a poem?

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