Friday, April 08, 2005

Poetry Reading

I'm giving a poetry reading down at UVSC today. It's been awhile since I've done this, and I'm sort of sick today, but I'm still looking forward to it.

Here's how it goes for me: anticipation and preparation (yesterday I picked poems from my book, my manuscript, and my new manuscript); dread and self-loathing (on the way down there, I will become intensely aware of all the drawbacks and weaknesses of my work); reading (as I'm reading, I edit out poems that I've picked that appear to me, as I'm standing at the lectern, to be ludicrously bad); and post-reading reaction. Once at the Arts Festival, when I read just before the big headlining band, after people had been standing around in the hot sun drinking beer all day, I actually got heckled. I don't think this will happen today, but you never know.

In general, I don't adore readings--there's something pretty precious about them that makes me squirm. However, sometimes a reading can be so wonderful that it transcends the genre. In the hilarious vein, Susan Musgrave's reading at AWP did this; in the somber vein, a reading Mark Strand did after the publication of Blizzard of One that I thought was pretty great.

I will report on how it all went. In any case, they're paying me, so there's that.


  1. When you are going to start putting some of your poems on your blog? We, the readers of hightouchmegastore, want a little poesy.

  2. Was the heckling at the one when it was over at the Triad? I think I remember going to it, but uncertainty has set in.

  3. I think I got heckled when I read at the Arts Festival too. It was YEARS ago. But I'm not sure what was worse, the heckling or the woman who asked, after the reading, "Did you write those yourself?" I wasn't sure if she meant "Did you need the help of an additional writer in order to write those poems?" or "Are you willing to claim those as YOUR poems?" Perhaps she was just responding to my blaspheming the name "Barbie" over a loudspeaker on a fine summer day.
    In any case, I hope your UVSC reading was fantastic. I read there last April and I found them easy laughers, which is my number one requirement for an audience. That, and free cookies.



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