I mentioned a few blog posts ago that I decided to forego reading any poems from my manuscript at the Decatur Book Festival, because it’s really hard to excerpt pieces from a narrative–let’s be honest, the book is a verse novel, and so many of the poems are interdependent (except maybe the Moon Poems in it), that even reading sevearal in narrative-arc-order wouldn’t make much sense. How do you get invested in characters without hearing the WHOLE THING? I don’t think it’s possible. (I suppose, if I ever get it published, I will really have to figure out how to present the poems in a way that makes sense for poetry readings. But that’s just not an issue right now, so it’s clearly on the back burner.)
Anyway, at DBF, I read a handful of prose poems as I planned to. I’ve been writing a number of them in the last year or so, along with the pieces of flash fiction and flash nonfiction. (Actually, writing the prose poems might have been the catalyst for getting serious about fiction and nonfiction, now that I think about it.)
I’m not sure why prose poems are resonating with me so much–when I read them, I respond to their “quirky sensibility,” and the fact that they tend often towards absurdity and repetition (as well as the other things we expect in poetry, like sound and image and metaphor), and I like when I can write with a little bit of abandon, and try to tap into writing on the lighter (nuttier?) side. Maybe that’s just my state of mind in the last year or so! I’ve certainly gone out of my way to read a lot of prose poetry this past year, and I like what happens when I try writing it.
As promised…the Set List! (You can find links to many of these on my Online Poems & Writing Page.)
- This Is Not a Poem About a Blank Page
- Weed ’em and Reap
- How to Mend a Broken Heart
- When the Wolf Bit Off the Fingers of My Left Hand
Regarding readings, I was once described (by someone with excellent poetic delivery) as being a “diffident wise-ass,” and told that my performance tended to be sly and snarky between my poems, undercutting the presentation of the poems themselves. I personally don’t mind being considered a diffident wise-ass–despite the fact that a body could argue that the definitions of both words would seem to cancel each other out–because it’s an accurate critique of my whole personality, and anyway, I’m nothing if not a contradiction.
But since he said that to me, I’ve tried to give my poems the gravitas they deserve, and not be so snarky in my delivery. I think I mostly succeeded this past Saturday at the DBF, but I’m sure I said a few snarky asides. No one’s perfect…and anyway, I can’t help myself. No one would recognize me if I was perfectly serious.
Finally…as for the photos… well, I forgot to bring my camera and had to settle with using the phone, and I often get blurry pics on it. I apologize to the photo subjects, who are all much more beautiful than they appear here!
Here are Tammy Foster Brewer, Robert Lee Brewer, and Andrea Jurjević (and Bob Wood in the foreground of Andrea’s photo).
Here are Kodac Harrison, Dan Veach, and Rupert Fike (listening to Andrea’s poetry with rapt attention).
Last, but not least, may I present “Still Life with Bob’s Hand.” 😉 Here he’s guarding his stack of copies of The Awkward Poses of Others, which, if you haven’t read, get thee to Amazon immediately and purchase a copy–especially if you like movies and art and ekphrastic poetry.
And with that, I’ve no more to say about the Decatur Book Festival. Until next September, that is.