Thursday, October 11, 2007


So very pleased to wake up to the news this morning that Doris Lessing had been awarded the Nobel. I haven't honestly read that many of her books (and she has a ton of 'em), but I did read The Grass Is Singing and The Golden Notebook and some of her short stories as an undergrad, and I remember being especially moved and inspired by The Golden Notebook. (It's been on my "really should reread this now that I'm older and maybe know a little more" list for a while now.) I think I've read a couple others of hers as well, but can't recall titles off the top of my head. Anyway, happy news.

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My poetry group's annual reading is tomorrow evening. I like it much better when we have a Saturday night reading; I'm always so low-energy on Friday evenings after a long work week. I'm going to take a niblet of vacation time tomorrow and leave work an hour or two early, which should help; at least it will give me time to come home, change clothes, have a bite to eat, feed the cats. Note to self: print out poems before going to bed tonight!

We are reading at Boxcar Books, which is a nice little indie bookstore specializing in lefty political stuff. They do have a smallish but generally well-chosen poetry section. They are kind enough to let us use their back room for free -- it's nothing fancy, but it's a nice little space with room for 20-30 people to sit and listen. The bookstore is run by a cooperative of young folks (mostly in their twenties, I think); I always feel a little bit old when I go in there, but they do good work, and have a number of community projects they're affiliated with, including a very active Pages to Prisoners program. Nice little place, and it's fun to read there.

I need to start thinking about the reading I'll be doing in the spring in connection with my grant; it's none too early to start finding a space and choosing a date. I hope that when my chapbook comes out I'll be able to do a few more readings. In a smallish town like Bloomington I don't get to read that often -- there just aren't that many venues -- but I do enjoy reading, when I get to do it. Didn't used to. I used to have stage fright something awful. I'm not quite sure what I did to get over it, but now I'll get up in front of pretty much anyone and read poems. (Extemporaneous speaking is another matter entirely. *shudder*)

Some of my favorite readings ever have been the student readings at the Fine Arts Work Center summer program. You're limited to reading one page, which is not much, but it turns out to be about right for the number of people there. Every year so far there have been at least a couple of students who've astonished me with amazing work -- they attract such a high quality of students there. And although the workshop faculty aren't required to attend, in my experience they always have, and it's pretty sweet to look out into the audience and see people like D.A. Powell, Carl Phillips, Robin Becker, Sonia Sanchez, et al. (Sonia Sanchez was especially cool, going around afterwards to everyone who'd read and thanking them for reading and giving them a hug. She's great.) At those readings, students very often read something they've just written or revised that week, which lends a certain air of risk and excitement to the whole thing.

One of the poems I'm reading tomorrow night is pretty new (I've been working on it since the beginning of August) and probably not quite entirely finished. That's enough risk for a home-court reading, methinks.

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Summer has finally snapped like the last string bean, and instead of highs in the low 90s (which we had as recently as Monday) we're topping out around 60. It's a bit of a shock, but at least it's seasonal. I love October, usually. Love it best when the trees are orange and the sky is brilliant blue. There's a certain shade of blue that only happens in autumn. I could live inside that blue, could love it forever. Every year I try to write about that particular sky and every year I fail miserably. Figures.


Jessie Carty said...

There is something exciting about reading a work that isn't quite finishd. I've only recently gone to one reading, which I hadn't done in years and I read a poem that I thought was almost there. I actually got good comments afterwards so that little puppy of a poem was sent off to a lit mag. Yet to be heard back from :)

Have fun!

poet with a day job said...

hooray Doris! The Fifth Child is my fave...

And you break a leg at your reading!