It's difficult for me to meet and talk with authors when I haven't totally loved their work. Take for example, me almost getting thrown out of the Jonathan Franzen book signing.
So it was with some trepedation I spoke to Marcus McCann at Glad Day Book's Pride signing event.
I went to hear him read first, he read several poems, mostly from his first book for some reason, and several he had written himself not in a book. Very few, maybe two, from the book he was there to push, The Hard Return.
He started off the event playing to the crowd and saying he was going to read poems about sex, which got an appreciative howl from the audience.
He then spent 20 minutes reading poems not about sex.
While technically he seems very gifted and at a level beyond me craftsmanship wise, he didn't seem to put as much effort into entertaining his audience as he did in to displaying his mastery of word-crafting. For example, one poem was read that was a list of brands of men's jackets, while acknowledging that this style of poem went out 10 years ago. Another poem was read because it sounded cool, syllable/onomatopoeia wise, but little was presented understanding/enjoying wise.
At the end of the event, I was now struggling more with what to say.
A positive was that he was attractive and judging by his offhand asides during the reading, seemed sexually uninhibited. I don't know that was actually presented in the work performed though....
So I ended up picking the two poems I like best and asked him for more information on them.
One was about a dunk tank and when I asked why he wrote about that, he said there was a famous poem about a butterfly and he had wanted to write about the opposite of a butterfly, which was a dunk tank.
Quickly moving on, I asked about an empowering poem he wrote that started with being small and gaining self-confidence into finally macho swagger. He said that was a break-up poem. I explained that I probably wouldn't have got that from the poem itself, at which point he said:
"Yes, they don't make sense, they're all crap."
And my work was unfortunately once again done.
If you're going to make artistic decisions, is it really too much for me to question why in an attempt to understand?
That could have gone better.