Friday, May 29, 2009


On Sunday, the Gallows Hill Writers presented a reading at a new restaurant in town. One of them was so nervous she didn't notice her own parents in the front row. We all tried to reassure her, but in the end, it was the performance itself that worked.

You get up on that stage and hope there's light on your page (and not in your eyes), and if there's some kind of lectern...all the better. I usually wear glasses too, even though I've printed out the poems in large type. Before I start I spend a few minutes looking out at the people in the room. Once I'm reading, the poems take on a life of their own, pulling the audience along with them.

I move with my voice, speaking at the rate of my heartbeat, and hope that the poems draw enough attention that I slip through the half hour unmarked. I've known musicians all my life, and many have said they play to meet people, to speak without being interrupted.

And for protection. The swirl of lines that permeates the air in the room protects you from small talk's awkwardness. People can start right in asking me what the hell a boletto is, or how I ever thought of licking a horsefly off my arm while clinging to a galloping mare. I'm spared the whattayadoforadayjob and have-you-been-here-long preliminaries. We can get right down to chasing after sound. I thrive on the anonymity of rhythm and riff that sparkles through conversation, the humor that warms it, the undertow of knowing .enriched with syllables of pure joy.

And I'm glad to meet you. I could listen to your juicy iambs all night long.



Blogger Springer Kneeblood said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Springer Kneeblood said...

I'm glad to meet you, too, the woman who would lick that damned horsefly, then settle in to the easy rhythm of a heartbeat so attuned to the room that its warmth melts the nervous ice in all the drinks. And then it brings on those smiles that were hidden before. Where the hell were they, before you spoke?

7:54 PM  
Blogger BrightenedBoy said...

You have such a peculiar way of expressing things.

I would like to hear some of your poems.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous phil said...

I've always had problems with public speaking. Wonderful interpretation of the experience.

Who's the bass player? WAG - Chris Squire from Yes.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Jarrett said...

Beautiful. Glad to know you're getting out there. Cheers, J

5:55 AM  
Blogger hele said...

"right down to chasing after sound"

this set me daydreaming about a life where people only speak to watch their words taking wing, catching the sun with the tip of each feather.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Magpie said...

Juicy iambs!

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Deborah Godin said...

I know the whole oral/bardic thing is how poetry began, but I still can't help but lean to the visual. What I consider the best of what I write isn't designed to be spoken. It's all about how it looks on the page and shifts in the head. But I'm very intrigued by those who do read aloud. Would love to read/see anything you might feel like posting.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Miss Bliss said...

I love poetry read aloud, but then I come from a theatre tradition so...yeah bring on those juicy iambs.

Thanks for stopping my blog.

11:02 AM  
Blogger PurestGreen said...

Thank you for visiting me on Scotland for the Senses. Now I have found your blog - what wonderful writing. I'll be dropping in again.

12:28 AM  
Blogger Johnny Virgil said...

If I read things to my heartbeat when I'm speaking in public, I'd sound like an auctioneer....

9:48 AM  
Blogger YourFireAnt said...

Auctioning off poems? what a concept. I like it.


5:46 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home