I am near the end of my current journal–the one where I keep all my notes from workshop, first drafts, half thoughts, and stolen conversations. Itâ€™s also holding the quickly jotted lines and author banter from the last few readings Iâ€™ve attended. These notes is what has been helping me recall the little details at a poetry reading and transfer that to my recent blog recaps.
While it is a task to listen to the reading and scribbling observations; itâ€™s also a great joy to look over these lines of poetry that are not pure lines of poetry but my best memory of these pure lines of poetry. I try to differentiate what is a perfectly transcripted line and what is my attempt to hold together a start word and end word with what I heard and what I saw or felt as I am processing the words.
But thatâ€™s part of the joy of a good live reading, which to me is still the purest form of poetry. Yes, I love books and the feel of a book in my head and the experience of having the text speak to me but I also realize that I am prone to read in the most comfortable place I can find and at the hours it is most convenient to me. I also have a bad habit of putting down a poem that I am not ready for, maybe itâ€™s hitting too close to home or too far from where I am but either way itâ€™s a struggle for me to get through some books even the ones I love, or better stated, have grown to love. The live reading is cool in that I give myself up the event and the poet: Ok, hit me with your best shot.
For the most part, I remain optimistic about readings and try to keep my expectations for the poetry high but my presumptions of the poet low so that I can let the key poet factors sink in: voice, cadence, stress, tone, arc of movement, ambient noise, silence, pause, facial expressions, et al; while also taking into account the external factors: venue, curator, sound system, ambient noise, audience, et al.
So am I doing a good job at these recaps? Well, you can be the judge as YouTube has been my new poetry vice and I am having a blast looking for true gems in poetry. Recently found: Neruda in his own voice, Felipe Luciano of the Last Poets introducing Salsa great Eddie Palmieri with a poem, and an interview with Ocatvio Paz.
Iâ€™ve also found some videos of reading I have recapped which is a good opportunity to see how accurate my recaps really are.
This reminds me that I should get around to posting more on Mackeyâ€™s half of the Holloway reading, the influence his work has had on Craigâ€™s newer work (some of which I heard on Saturday at the Artifact series), and some other good readings Iâ€™ve been lucky enough to attend lately.