First off, if you haven't yet seen Paul's good news, go check it out. Way cool!
Went to the first night of the IU Writers' Conference readings tonight. I'm afraid I got too busy listening to take good notes, so this will be brief....
David Leavitt: He's got a nonfiction book about Alan Turing coming out -- verrrry interesting! He's just recently back from reading at a festival in Rome, the theme of which was "fear and hope"; he read us the short story he read there, "A Civilized Divorce." It was quite good (about the relationship between a father & his grown son, years after the son's parents divorced) -- funny in places, full of vivid description, and amazingly enough, he didn't read way over the allotted time as so many fiction writers tend to do. He read quite well, too, and though I didn't get a chance to chat with him, he came across as a very laid-back and congenial guy. He said he'd been enjoying the conference so far in the 24 hours he'd been in town and if it kept on being this much fun he might not leave. Heh.
Ruth Ellen Kocher: She was wearing a pair of shoes very much like a pair I have (and love so much I wore 'em out), so she got points right away. *grin* She opened with three poems from the manuscript she's working on, The First Gods; the first poem, "Gabriel in the Kitchen Stirring Onions," completely blew me away and I really want to read it again. Then she read some older poems, including a kick-ass one about red shoes. I actually hadn't been that familiar with her work, but I'm thoroughly sold now. These are poems that make me want to run home and write. She blends intellect and earthiness in a nearly seamless way -- just plain good stuff. Chatted with her for a few minutes at the reception afterwards (hi!) and she seems like a neat person. I'm envious of the people in her workshop this week! A good friend of mine is taking her workshop, so hopefully I will at least get to hear all about it.
I did notice that Yusef Komunyakaa went up to her right after her reading and was probably saying really nice things to her. Cool.
I hung around the reception longer than I'd actually intended to, considering I have a bunch of stuff I need to get done before bedtime tonight -- guess that laundry isn't going to get done after all, whoops. I do need to get my poems prepared for tomorrow's recording session over at the WFIU radio studio, and practice reading them a few times (ahem). Since it's already 11:30 pm, I'd better stop blogging and get cracking.