The strangest thing I experienced the otherwise very enjoyable and avant-glamourous Roof/Ugly Duckling/Figures/Granary book party last night was when Charles Bernstein, having asked me if I wanted to meet Marjorie Perloff, guided me over to meet the Grande Dame, who, despite Charles’ very kind and even flattering introduction of me, showed no recognizable acknowledgment that I was a human being standing before her. Instead, she turned to Charles and talked about MLA business. As she prepared to leave, I put out my hand to shake hers with a polite, “Nice to meet you,” (for although I have an impudent streak, I was more or less raised to act respectfully towards my elders), she whisked away, and I was left with an extended hand floating impotently in front of me. “Bitch!” whispered another prominent figure in the New York poetry world who was standing in the same huddle but shall remain nameless.
Is it terribly petty that at that moment I thought, “Well, she may be president of the MLA but I sure am prettier.”?