April 10, 2013

Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, April 5, Afternoon Readings, Part 1

Again, an afternoon of 4 sessions, 2 each running concurrently. But my choice for the first session was made for me since I was one of the readers. & what a grouping it was, in the Estep Auditorium. If you are going to read with other writers, hope they are really good & have lots of friends & fans & then you'll have a really big audience too. I was lucky. More so, lucky being introduced by the lovely English instructor Rebecca Nicholson-Weir.

The first reader was Bayard Godsave with an excerpt from a longer story, "Tell Me About Your Brother." The story was about a graffitti artist who becomes a political terrorist, written in the style of magazine journalism, like an article from Rolling Stone. I'm looking forward to someday reading the full story.

I always try to consider my audience when I prepare my readings, & try to give unfamiliar folk a sense of my work & my themes. I started with a poem I wrote leaving here 2 years ago, "Oklahoma Sunday," then introduced them to the Albany poets with "Where Were the Professors." I included poems from my chapbook Poeming the Prompt (A.P.D., 2012), & a couple of new pieces, the political "Nurture or Shooter" & the whimsical "Living in Wilcox." What great fun, what a high to look out into the audience to see so many wonderful poets I respect & admire beaming down on me.

Steven Schroeder is another poet I met at the last Scissortail festival 2 years ago. He often works with his daughter Regina in creating unique books printed on homemade paper, & with other artists. He began with "A Lecture on Metaphysics" in which a cloud speaks as God, from a recent book, Turn. He continued on in that vein, funny, philosophical, term-twisting considerations of religion & religious images, with "A Work of the Hands" & a untitled piece written just yesterday, on Jesus ("he spoke with authority, for God's sake"). He ended with a poem in 7 parts on Mary the Mother of Jesus, "Seven Sorrows," short poems printed on card stock with prints by artist Neese Aquilar, connected by last lines, circular -- I just had to get a copy.

The final reader of the set was Jim Spurr, who runs a poetry open mic on the third Thursday of each month in Shawnee, OK. I told Jim that I never can get to his reading because I am hosting an open mic the same night in Albany, NY. Jim said that was alright, that he never could get to Albany for the same reason. He began with a poem that describes how he feels about his Parkinson's Disease, "Live Loud Live Long." Another poem on the same theme, a rant of a street poet, contains a line appropriated from the film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, "pencil, paper, poetry is alive & it don't need no stinking permit." He read a poem about the end of World War II, thinking there would never would be any more war, & a poem, "Charlotte is the Name" in praise of an Oklahoma Girl. "God's Four Windows" was a dialogue between Spring & Winter. A few more poems, separated by amusing anecdotes, then the last poem about taking up Bible studies at his late age, about Time & searching for meaning, "Dante & the Nerd." Jim is another of the Oklahoma poets I had met on my first trip here & he remains one of my favorites (as he is for many here), & one of the Elders to follow on the path of Poetry.

More to come -- stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this Dan. I appreciate it, and your presence is always such an uplift to everyone at the festival. Ken Hada

Eric K said...

Dab: Enjoying reading your posts. Continue to have a good time. All the best.