Friday, April 21, 2006

I think this is mostly about community.

A lot going on locally this weekend. It is Little 500 weekend -- every college town has its major party-weekend event, and this is IU's. (If you've seen the movie "Breaking Away," you know something about it -- or at least about the race itself, which sometimes seems like just an excuse for a lot of partying.) So campus and downtown are relatively crazy. In one of those unholy juxtapositions that always seems to happen, last night a small plane carrying five IU students, all graduate students in the music school, crashed in dense fog near the airport killing all aboard. (One of them worked part-time as an announcer on the local NPR station, so I knew his name and his voice pretty well.) All of the students were highly talented, promising young musicians and composers pursuing advanced degrees at one of the best music schools in the country -- a music school that is a vibrant and relatively close-knit community. It's terribly sad.

Tonight there was a poetry reading at the local Barnes & Noble, celebrating Nat-Po-Month, and the "Celebrating Seventy" anthology that came out a couple years ago (and of which many copies are still sitting around waiting to be sold), and the ending of the daily poetry show Jenny Kander had on our community radio station, WFHB. There were 17 poets on the slate, and we each read our two poems from the anthology; the reading went a bit over an hour, which felt about right. It was a nice mix of voices, many of whom don't have any particular ambition towards being widely published or anything like that but are just regular people who read a poem now and then, write a poem now and then -- people who would probably define themselves as parents, teachers, whatever long before they'd define themselves as poets, and it felt really good to listen to those voices especially. There were plenty of good poems read, but what struck me almost more than the poems themselves was the sense, however momentary, of community & collegiality. A nice evening.

A week from tonight at the monthly Runcible Spoon reading series, my friend Shana Ritter (a fine poet who was in my first writers' group; I've known her since 1985 or '86) will be reading, as will my former teacher Roger Mitchell. (Hey! He has a blog -- I had no idea. Jeez, everybody's doing it, huh?) Should be a good one. I may pull something out for the open-mic part at the end, even though I just read at the Spoon last month, mainly because I would enjoy sharing a new poem (or maybe two short ones) with both Shana & Roger, both of whom have been important parts of my writing life.

To end on a happy note: got word yesterday that Boxcar Poetry Review will be taking two of my poems, "Sugar Hits the Highway" and "Deuce." I have been writing a series of poems about a character named Sugar, and these are the first from that series to be accepted. So, yay.


Suzanne said...

Yay, Yay!!!

Radish King said...

So sorry to hear about the crash. Every time, you know, it makes me incredibly sad, especially now I am learning to fly.

Congrats on your acceptances, and your roundtable reading. Sounds like you're doing the good work, Annycakes.


Lee said...

I just got home from a computer music concert. One of the pieces featured the recorded voice of Robert Samels, the student you mentioned who died in the crash.

jenni said...

hey congrats! loved those sugar poems!

how very sad to hear about these students. . .

i hate flying. scares the crap out of me.

hope you survive Little 5! (hey, isn't that a t-shirt slogan?)

Anne said...

Suzanne: Yay! :)

Rebecca: You will never crash because it is simply not permitted. So. But it is so sad about those students -- all the more so because they were all just in the early stages of what would have been promising musical careers. I can't help wondering why it couldn't have been a bunch of MBA students or something. That's terrible, I know. Also, "Annycakes" made me giggle.

Lee: That must have been very strange...

Jenni: Thanks for the congrats! Sugar has made a few more appearances recently -- I may yet get a whole chapbook out of her. (And if "hope you survive Little 5" isn't a t-shirt slogan, it should be! I just got back from Target & on the way back I went past the biggest, most obnoxious party I think I have ever seen. Ugh.)

William said...

Just wanted to say hello and to let you know that I've been enjoying your blog. I don't mean to be a "lurker" and figure that it's time for me to make a comment and let you know what a great blog this is!!!

You should put an email address in your profile so that people who might be comment-phobes can get in touch with you!

Now I have to sign off so that I can order myself one of those t-shirts!!!



Anne said...

William: Hello back atcha, and thanks. :) I do have an email address in my profile, though! It just isn't a clickable link -- it's spelled out in hopes that will defeat the spammers.

Erin B. said...

Sante on the publication and the pledge to community. Here's to making it happen, and with a fat heart.

Anne said...

Erin: Yes, that. Thanks. :)