This was already going to be a wistful week for Bob Holman, owner of the Bowery Poetry Club. Tonight and tomorrow, he’s hosting a farewell party for A Gathering of Tribes and its founder Steve Cannon, who are being forced to leave their home of 24 years on East Third Street. On top of that, Holman took to his blog yesterday to make an unexpected announcement: this year’s HOWL! Festival will no longer happen as planned.
“No HOWL! this spring,” wrote Holman, vice president of the HOWL! board of directors. “Due to circumstances beyond our control, HOWL! Festival 2014, originally scheduled for May 30 thru June 1, has been postponed.” According to the post, new dates will be made public when they’ve been determined.
“It’s Tompkins Sq Park bureaucracy, IMHO — HOWL has never been supported like the Treasure that it is,” Holman wrote.
A tribute to Allen Ginsberg’s epic poem of the same name, HOWL! Festival debuted in 2003. In 2011, The Village Voice named it the Best Outdoor Festival in New York. An estimated 100,000 people attended last year’s events in Tompkins Square Park, which included “Hip-Hop HOWL!” and “Bowery Bombshells — Great Ladies Of The Lower East Side.”
Cannon had been christened 2014’s Poet Laureate of the Lower East Side (PLOTLES), meaning that he’d have the honor of reciting “Howl” at the festival.
According to Holman’s post, “Steve Cannon will continue as Poet laureate and will rule at the next HOWL, whenever that is.” In the meantime, you can help out with Cannon’s debts and moving expenses by attending an auction of his books, art, and other items at Tribes (285 East Third Street, between C and D, 2nd floor), tonight from 6 p.m. to midnight and tomorrow from 6 p.m. to midnight (there will be food). Or attend another fundraiser/celebration at the Nuyorican Poetry Cafe on April 23.