Last week we endured the Cohen hearings and two blanketing snow storms, along with our local Poets Resist. My conditioned instinct is to laugh – poor poetry! — only to be replaced by a memory of our reading’s bright presence. It was neither a blip nor a weak , not an insertion, interruption but a solid thing standing on its own alongside the forces of nature and politics. In the melodramas and storms, it was rather steady, unforced and unmannered, the ongoingness of poets reading and singing people they hope are listening, but singing nonetheless in the space their words create.
I think of the different tones and approaches taken by our nine poets: the whispery, the off-slant, the eloquent wit, the darkly ardent. The open pleas, the laments. The open door to tenderness. The eight-minute slot per poet added to an intensity of poets concentrating their meaning and audience listening hard to what they had to say. That focus ensured that the words left their mark.
Thank you to Peter Covino, Tina Cane, A.H. Avant, Amy Pickworth, Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, Rosalynde Vas Dias, Erin Perfect, Joanna Brown! Thank you, Riffraff for the emotional and physical space!