I, a woman forty-five, beginning to gray at the temples,Last night she read exclusively from After, her new book. I enjoyed her reading very much; she spent more time chatting and providing background than many poets do, but I didn't feel she overexplained the poems, and I got a better sense of how she works -- something I always enjoy. I also got the impression that she would be a good teacher, just from how she talked about the poems and about her own writing process. I think my favorite poem was the one she opened with, "Theology," which had dogs in it. (It wasn't just because of the dogs that I liked it.)
putting pages of ruined paper
into a basket, pulling them out again.
[from "Waking This Morning Dreamless After Long Sleep"]
After the reading she took a few questions, which she answered graciously. One question was about how to arrange a book of poems, which certainly seems to be a topic that's out there in the poetic zeitgeist these days, on listservs & around the blogosphere. She didn't really say anything I hadn't heard before about this, but it's obviously something she has struggled with and spent a lot of time thinking about.
Although it was a splurge since it's only out in hardcover, I bought a copy of After, and had her sign it like a big ol' fangirl. Hey, if you can't splurge on a hardcover right in front of the poet, when can you, y'know?
I also chatted for a few minutes with a young poet who's in her final semester of the low-res program at New England College, and has absolutely loved it. Contagious enthusiasm. I have got to find a way to make a low-res program happen -- to come up with the money, and the time/energy.