Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Red Cedar Review Party Tomorrow

The Red Cedar Review will be having its annual Issue Release Party tomorrow. I got a copy of the new issue in my hands tonight, and I can tell you that it's wonderful. The poetry is extremely impressive. I love the poems "rebirth," "The Statues of Vaison-la-Romaine," "Twice-born," and "Lepidoptery." I just read "Just Here for Littering," and it was so good. Midway through the piece, the author describes someone called The Candy Man, and by the end of the paragraph, you want to die inside, because it's so sad. There's even a delightful comic mid-way through the book involving a hamster fishing.
I've been asked to read. I'll be reading last.
Picking out poems to read is always a struggle for me. I went through quite a few poems before settling on the three I'll be reading. I considered reading "On Why Bureaucracies Work the Way They Do," which I read at my last poetry reading and has been published. Since I know they'll be some of the same people there, I wanted to avoid reading all the same stuff I've recently read to them. I also thought about reading "Vinyl Says Something on the Record," which was one of my most recent poems. I submitted it as part of my manuscript for the Live Lit, but it was the one poem I choose not to read, since I think it's still too early to tell if it's really done or not. I also considered pulling something from a manuscript I have called Satellites. It's an entire collection of poems about relationships, though not necessarily the romantic kind. I have other poems, some based on family stories about farming, others rewriting ancient Greek myths, one on marriage, and even one done as a surreal feminist piece. Basically, I have a lot of strange stuff, and then I have love poems. I'm hesitant to read three love poems in a row, because I feel like love is boring in comparison to other stories unless it's happening to you. I think my love poems are good because they are so different, but that listeners don't want three in a row.
Then I have to practice reading them. Kelly and Ashley, our new editor and our current editor, respectively, have both mentioned I have a voice that makes people want to listen. I have to work to get that. Several years ago, I saw Carolyn Forche give a reading. I was lucky enough to meet her beforehand. She was so nice and I really liked her and didn't think much about her voice, which just sounded normal. And then she read, and she sounded so powerful that I felt as if God's wrath was about to come down on me. It was that stunning. I've never, before or since, been afraid at a poetry reading, or felt like a void opened up inside of me. I would like my listeners to be struck at that same level, though not always that way. I'm going to become a better poet and a better reader, and one day, that's what I'll do to people. If I'm not already.
So I'm settling with a few poems. You should come out tomorrow to hear them, to see what I read, if it's decent, if I get tongue-tied or not. 7:30 pm at Scene Metrospace. You won't be sorry you came.

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