Albany Journal – Friday 6/29/12

I’m up late tonight,  I haven’t been sleeping too well as of late.  I am nervously awaiting having our reading at Tierra Coffee Roasters later tonight with three other poets.  We formed the New Surrealist Institute up here in the Capital District, and we may have gone overboard with the publicity for it.  We’ve contacted, either through broadcast phone calls or emails, about two thousand people of whom many, or just a few, may show up this evening.  I’m nervous to think of what will happen if we get a crowd that is too much to handle, as the coffee shop really isn’t that large to host so many people.  I’m not sure if being able to broadcast those messages was a blessing or a curse, because if there are an overload of people, it may just invite the attentions of local law enforcement, and this would be tragic, because I will be held responsible for holding an event without going through the proper channels as required by the city of Albany.  But in all likelihood, and as usual with poetry readings in Albany, I don’t think we’ll get too many people.  Nevertheless, there is always the possibility of attracting an unruly crowd, and I’m hoping that the powers in the Heavens take care of us and deliver a perfectly-sized audience for the event.  It just remains to be seen.

I haven’t read in public for quite some time, and I have the feeling that I’ll be more than nervous while reading my work.  I’m not at all a poet myself, but the poetry scene is Albany is much more regularized and established than any short-story or full-length fiction group.  I’m usually the only novelist to hang with the poets of Albany, and while many in these poetry circles encourage me to write more poetry,  I am still only interested in writing prose, because I just don’t want to venture out into a place where my writing skills may not be good enough to match with the talents of the poets here.  I’d rather stick to one thing – writing prose – rather than try an entirely different branch of fiction.  It’s not that I’m too lazy to learn, because really it has nothing to do with that.  It’s more the case that I haven’t really mastered prose just yet either.  The Surrealist stuff that we are writing is a stretch for me enough, and so I will continue to avoid writing poetry until my prose work becomes more established.

Harvey Havel is the author of five novels. This past spring, Stories from the Fall of the Empire, his sixth book and his first collection of short stories, was recently released by Publish America. Later this summer, Two Tickets to Memphis, his sixth novel, is forthcoming from Publish America as well. Havel has previously taught Writing at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey and also at SUNY Albany and the College of St. Rose, both in Albany, New York. Born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1971, Havel now resides full time in Albany, New York.