Quick notes on a warm spring evening.
Went to Seamus Heaney's reading on campus this afternoon (it was at 5:30, in a building very close to the library where I work - super convenient!). I dawdled outside taking a few bad cellphone pictures of flowering trees, because it was just too nice outside and poetry readings are hardly ever crowded, so there's no hurry, right?
Wrong! When I got into the lecture hall (maybe ten minutes before the reading was scheduled to start), the room was packed and people were standing in the aisles & at the back of the room. Amazing! I was able to find a seat in the very back row, but people were continuing to come in; it was definitely a standing-room-only situation. Nice!
Like other readings in this series, this one began with a short Q&A by a faculty member; Heaney was charming and funny. Both men were sitting in chairs center stage for that. When Heaney took the podium for his reading, there were all kinds of technical issues with the microphone. It wasn't on, then it was causing all kinds of horrid feedback. It was eventually squared away, and Heaney handled it gracefully, but it always annoys me when there are technical issues at a reading that could probably have been avoided by doing a proper soundcheck. Oh well. Anyway, it was a very good reading; he read old poems and newer work, and gave just the right amount of background on each poem (at least for me). Standing ovation at the end, very nice. The room was hot and I was fading quickly, so I (along with quite a few others) ducked out before what was apparently going to be a bit of an audience Q&A.
On my way back to the car I got out my phone (I am so loving my smartphone, even if it doesn't take very good pictures of poetry readings - ahem) for a quick email check. Lo and behold - an acceptance note from New Madrid for a poem from the fictional-rockstar manuscript I'm working on. Yay! It'll be out this summer.
And this isn't poetry-related, but I am very pleased with the news (just breaking in the past hour) that President Obama has ordered hospitals which receive federal funding not to deny visitation rights for the same-sex partners of patients. It's a stupid world in which something like that requires a presidential order, but since it was necessary, I'm glad he did it. (Still mad at you about the offshore drilling thing, though, Mr. President. That was not cool.)