Like some strange collective of disenfranchised rock musicians, shorn of their instruments and forced to travel together for warmth, a pack of artists have embarked upon the Wave Books 06 Poetry Bus Tour. Forty-eight cities in 50 days ... that's some winded poets. Maybe it will help that their bus is biodiesel. And it can't hurt that the fledgling indie press (which is affiliated with established poetry house Verse Press) will be hosted in Pittsburgh by the Gist Street Reading Series, which makes out-of-town writers feel at home year-round, no matter how they travel. Confirmed readers for this Wed., Sept. 20, stop include Wave editors Joshua Beckman and Matthew Zapruder, plus Anthony McCann, with others likely to climb aboard. As usual, the Gist Street scene ... at James Simon's cozy Uptown sculpture studio ... includes snacks and raffles, along with the possibility of a backyard reading. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. for the 8 p.m. start (305 Gist St., Uptown; $5; 412-434-5629)
This town's already lousy with reading series. But, you know, the more the merrier. And if you're Chatham College's MFA program, why not start at the top? The program's brand-new series, titled Conjuring Place, debuts Tue., Sept. 19, with a reading by acclaimed poet and essayist Mark Doty. Doty is the only American poet to have won Great Britain's T.S. Eliot Prize; as a memoirist, he has described memory as "the past gently rewritten in the direction of feeling." Moreover, his Web site (www.markdoty.org) includes a second-by-second countdown till Bush is out of office. The free reading's at 8 p.m. in the James Laughlin Music Center, on Chatham's campus, in Shadyside (412-365-1125).
Commenting on The Garden Journal (FootHills Publishing), the second book by Dorothy Holley, local poetry mentor Michael Wurster writes: "If Baudelaire had read Dorothy Holley, he wouldn't have been so grumpy." Indeed, Holley's fleurs are decidedly not du mal: "Tiny pink buds / of the peach tree / still tight within / about to burst, / bloom, like a life / inwardly held / now ready to sing," she writes in "A Closer View." The 83-year-old Squirrel Hill resident's first book, A Whole Quart Jar, focused on her childhood on her family's Ohio farm. Though written in the same, almost radically plainspoken style, Garden is set largely in the present, incorporating actual garden-journal entries (and color photographs). Holley reads at a free-of-charge release party from 2-4 p.m. Sat., Sept. 16, in the garden of Shadyside's Calvary Church, 315 Shady Ave.