That’s how I feel about August right now. I have been more busy in the past week or so than I have most of the summer, and another busy weekend is on the horizon. So, although I am squeezing all I can into the end of my summer, the beginning of another school year is now a mere 10 days away.
This past week, I had the opportunity to be present at two wonderful readings that made me happy and proud to be a part of the poetry community. Sunday, I was an eager audience member at the latest Woman Made Gallery reading with the theme of Boxes/Containers. Each reader took a different approach to the theme – curator Nina Corwin always chooses a diverse selection of readers. The gallery exhibit upstairs used the Boxes theme, and, downstairs where the reading took place, we were appropriately surrounded by an exhibition on Text. Kathleen Kirk began with readings from her chapbook Interior Sculpture about sculptor Camille Claudel. Then Debra Bernhardt mixed humor, wordplay, pop culture, and intellect in the same box with poems from her two collections Echolalia and Driftology. Virginia Smith Rice wowed us with her centos from her collection When I Wake It Will Be Forever and new work as well. Andrea Witzke Slot’s new poems “contained” images from llamas to water therapy to ghosts of psychiatrists. And Robin Smith Chapman took us through the boxes of moving, of houses, and of relationships. If you ever get a chance to read or attend a reading at Woman Made, make your way there as quickly as you can.
Then, on Monday, the Sundress Poetry Roadshow came to town to stay at my place and prepare for our Ladies of Sundress reading on Tuesday evening at Powell’s in Chicago. What a treat to have not only fantastic writers/publishers Erin Elizabeth Smith and T.A. Noonan as company but also to read with them since they gave me the opportunity to have my first collection out in the world. We were joined by Virginia Smith Rice (mentioned above) and Kristin La Tour, who will have her first collection released by Sundress next year. Since Erin and T.A. are often organizing events, this is the first time I have been able to actually hear them read their work, and it was indeed a pleasure.
This weekend, I will be reading with Larry O. Dean and Richard Fox at Larry’s Excited Utterance series. This unique format has three readers alternating sets – each featured reader does a three short sets so the audience gets to constantly hear different voices, and the readers can switch gears between different types of work. I am looking forward to it! The last throes of summer will be singing with poems.