Auld Lang Syne

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Long Days will now recede

No, this is not a downer of a blogpost. It is simple fact: we are in solstice today and we roll slowly to short days from this point. Can you feel this in your body?

I am prepping for tonight's reading/book launch in Camden, Maine at the library. My book is being launched along with the inaugural books of two of my poet friends: Gayle Portnow will read from and sign fog and other atmospheric conditions and Wendy Rapaport will do likewise from her collection, On the Couch with the "good enough" poet.

When I read from a new book, I try to keep the poems from it to a minimum, adding in poems from older and newer work to mix up things a bit. I have made a list of poems to read OUTSIDE the book, choosing a few funny-ish ones to lighten the mood. The three of us will begin the evening with a summer poem each (we are billed as Three Poets of Summer). Then we will each read for up to ten minutes, and end with each of us reading a poem we admire by the other two of us. I think that is a lovely way to show connectedness of the community of poets.

We will have refreshments, including a lemon cake that I am making this morning. I will be reading my new poem, Lemon Cake and it seemed like the thing to do. We will serve lemonade, ice water, and a veggie/fruit tray. Yummy Summer!

Whenever I do a reading, I get very excited. I love sharing poems with strangers. Once people hear your work, they are not really strangers any more. Poetry is a great blender of psyches. I hope we have an active crowd.

I am also giving a door prize, a copy of my favorite book in the world: The Outermost House by Henry Beston. This is the book that, although it is not a book of poems, made me dream of doing this writing thing as my life's work. I have probably given away 30 copies. I find them in used bookstores and get them for a song. I have paid at most $10 for a copy, usually around $3. Totally worth it.

I also will read a poem tonight by another poet. I like to do this for the same reason I like reading poems by my friends. It opens up the room, lends a bit of context to why we do this poetry thing. Tonight I will read The Quarry, by James McKean. It is a lovely father/daughter poem by a poet who was a mentor long ago at Iowa. I usually read a Wilbur poem, and had thought to read The Writer tonight, but changed my mind only because we just celebrated Fathers Day. Well, it is a father/daughter poem too. Maybe I will bring it, just in case.

So, I hope the crowd is big and friendly. I hope books get sold. I hope the cake does not fall.

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