I was pleased with my poetry reading this week, more so than usual. Maybe because it's been some time since I did a sustained reading, maybe because it had a sort of homecoming feeling, with friends and strangers all out to hear what they might at the regular Wednesday night session at the White House.
I once could be found at this venue every week. In those days I wrote daily and having a regular opportunity to test out developing work was a great boon. There is nothing more inspiring than hearing other people's work -- those pieces you love and wish to emulate and those you can't stomach and wish to see replaced with something better, dashed out on the back of a coaster or in a notebook brought along for the purpose.
Though I now spend more of my time on composition I still keep a hand in the poetry and make it down to the White House readings every now and then. When I was last there, event organiser Ed O'Dwyer asked me if I wanted to be the featured guest. I must thank Ed for the opportunity!
On the evening of February 10 host Barney was in fine form, and it couldn't have hurt that I insisted he read one of his own poems to kick off the night. His concluding summation of my works was hysterically funny. I got a picture of him with the anthology Microphone On, a book I co-edited that kicked off what is now a thriving local publishing venture.
The event began at 9:30 with an open mic, followed by my reading for half an hour and then some more open mic poets. I like this order of events since the guest poet is then placed in context with the other offerings. It's nicer than being elevated to a position at the head of the table, as it were.
I had taken some time to prepare what I would read and in what order. It was difficult to select from so many works, but the preparation paid off.
This is what I read:
The Way of the Owl
Six Promises To A Future Lover
Rhinoplasty in the UK
Internal Organs Missing From My Body
Finland (A Farewell To Darren)
The Traveller, His Voice In The Trees
Hence Déja Vù
A few of these have been published and one even won a contest. I am sure I have read them all before, but it was interesting for me to situate work from different periods together. That said, they were all written within a five year span; I made a decision not to include any ancient works, partially as a way of making the selection process easier.
Next I must reconsider that book project. I've really been procrastinating too long.
(The last photo was taken by Susannah Kelly. Click through each to get a larger version on Flickr.)