Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Discovering Doug Lang’s DC poetry history blog, led me to my contribution to a similar project done years ago.

I stuck my contribution up there to the right in the little selection of some sites my work or comments about it appear on.

At the time I wrote it, the only history of the poetry scene that included some of the years I was in DC, left me out. So that’s why I took what might seem like a self-serving perspective.

Now that Doug Lang has created his own blog about it and included his entries to the same project, which I hadn’t seen before, but certainly give me more than enough credit, my entry is almost redundant, except for the pre-DC history and early days there, which I think are a useful addition.

I also think my entry must have been cut, because I remember mentioning lots of poets who were a part of the scene, including the actress Karen Allen who hadn’t quite chosen between writing and acting at that time, and the poet/singer/musician who became John Doe after he left the DC-Baltimore area for L. A. and started the band X.

What’s most important for me about Doug’s blog and the DC poetry history project in general, is that it documents one of many poetry scenes that were overshadowed by New York and San Francisco, and that I hope are being equally documented and get their due as part of what I experienced as a lively international poetry scene in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Let me know if you uncover any other blogs or sites about these alternative scenes, will ya?


douglang said...

The poet/singer/musician who became John Doe was John Duchac. I read with him once in Baltimore, right before he took off. He said he was going to LA to become a rock star. Everybody either said or thought, sure, yeah, right -- but not in a bad way. It was around the same time Karen Allen said she was going to New York to become an actress. Everbody either said or thought… Where are those guys now?

Terry Winch is till in touch with John, they've been pals forever.

I think that your contribution to the Dc History Project is valuable. You could always change it, if you don't like it.

Thanks for all the great feedback and support.

Lally said...

Yeah, I used to see John Doe around all the time in L. A., sometimes at the same auditions for roles in films etc. He was always nothing but completely nice to me, and always asked about Winch. A really great guy. Terence has a story about him in THAT SPECIAL PLACE. And Karen has this incredible knitwear business, she designs and makes mostly cashmere sweaters and hats and scarves etc. out of a studio in the Berkshires, and did her best work yet as an actress a few years ago in a film that never got distributed, in which she played an alcoholic Southern ex-beauty queen trophy wife to a Southern Senator and kicked ass so righteously, the audience I saw it with at the Tribeca Film Festival couldn't stop applauding after almost every scene she was in. And I hear rumors she's working on a new film right now.

Beth Joselow said...

At least for me, Michael, you were the very heart of the most important DC poetry scene -- the one that grew roots and branches and some strange and beautiful flowers. I'm glad to see the documentation by Doug and you and others. Upstairs at The Community Bookstore. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Lally said...

Thanks Beth, you too were a big part of what made that time and place so special, not just your poems, but your beautiful presence.

Anonymous said...

Michael lally was the greatest influence on me as a poet. I met him in DC when I was 15 and he and Ed Cox and Terry Winch helped me to form my poetic perspective. It took me 30 years to have the nerve to read my work in public. The rest is history. Karen Allen and I grew up together in Maryland and DC and we are still friends today. I miss seeing lally and more importantly hearing his new work. I'm sure it has as much verve and vitality as his early work.

Bobby Miller . Ptown, MA. 9/14/07