02 May 2012
This past Sunday, I had a great time reading poems with fellow poet Ann E. Michael and answering questions asked by Randall Forte, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council. The small, delightful, engaged audience also asked questions. It was a sweet event, in the high-ceilinged, bright-whitened rooms of the Soft Machine Gallery in Allentown. I love these little reclaimed spaces. A factory dies, a warehouse is abandoned, and eventually The Arts move in and brighten and open the space again! I remember an article by Rebecca Tirrell Talbot about reclaiming spaces for the arts, and resuscitating cities in the process. Anyway, it was a really fun event in which we talked more than we read, but we got to read a few poems each, and the little crowd was most appreciative. I'm not going to try to reconstruct the event (that would be exhausting), but Ann did, so you can read her version here. I am now the proud owner of two volumes of Ann's poetry, and read nearly all of one of them on the way home, out loud, to Gary. That's because Ann & her husband also built a house, and this collection is the result of that house-building adventure! Wow. So, here's the crazy thing: I basically wrote all those poems, some almost verbatim, in my head while we were building! I just never wrote them down. And she did. And that makes all the difference. :) But seriously. She has one about installing insulation, finding out that the insulation is made of newspaper, and seeing text printed on the scraps of material. Then she thinks about how her walls are full of words. We did that, too. One Thanksgiving afternoon, a lovely warm day, I stood outside feeding bags of shredded-recycled-newspaper insulation through a blower machine while Gary guided it into the floors and eaves. And I read the scraps of text on the insulation as it went through. But by the time the long day was over, I was too tired to write a poem. And that's what happened for those several crazy years: I worked too hard to write about the work, and now that experience is gone. Sad, but true. So, go Ann!