Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ian Dugan-Poetry Reading

This is neither the first time I have read or recited my poetry before nor the first poetry reading that I have been to, but the nervous burning sensation that I get before reading remains. I tried mainly to focus on the readings before me. I have unfortunately lost track of the names, although I must say that the room was brimming with a good deal of talent.

I do remember, of the first or second poem, that I found its speed and the way the words were linked to one another. I notice that a lot of the poems had some reference to sex and sleep-not that these subjects in particular are of any interest other than passing to me. I just noted that enough of the subject of sex especially came up and that I might consider writing something on it myself.

Rudolfo's reading stood out to me. He memorized all, if not most, of his poetry and was very animated when he spoke. Many of the lines were funny; I wish I could remember them in their entirety, but I do remember laughing. I realize too that I may want to do as he did and memorize more of my own poetry.

One of the poems that was read by Mary Johnson stood out to me because of the last lines: "You taught me to look at bodies...not faces...because when we lock eyes, we staunchly know who we are."
I usually look for lines that stand out, sometimes write them down; they may sooner or later find their way into a new poem.

I enjoyed Nick's reading of his "I Remember" and "The Fact That". "I Remember" had a few new additions and had become more specific, which I rather liked. I particularly like the line from "The Fact That":
"The fact that the meaning of life is to get the hell off of your couch and go experience something: get in a fight, get arrested, get laid, get caught, get away, get a scar, get a car, catch a star, fall in love".
The slight bit of internal rhyme coupled with the speed at which it was read made it memorable.

I like that some of the poets like Kim read work that was not finished yet, or small poems without titles. I think that I should try poems like that, perhaps in a small notebook. Mary Oliver once spoke of meeting with poetry and of the necessity of making the meetings often as opposed to seldom in order to get the writing to "come out". I also liked the "Scrapbook" idea. I wish the reader had not left so fast; I wanted his name. I know Jose Santiago from my job in the library; I knew he wrote but had never heard his work before. I think it a rather nice surprise to see people one knows read their work, especially if they write well. I saw in his work a reminder of the "write poetry surrounding a theme" idea, like Maggie Nelson and Cole Swenson. In that regard, Eric Whetstone's "Garden" poem stood out. I liked the way he adapted the "Ours" structure to his memories of his grandfather. I think that, were there a way for him to have heard, he would have been honored.

I believe that, in the future, I shall bring drafts with larger fonts for reading, as I am nearsighted, and reading poetry that plays on itself in words and sounds becomes difficult when one cannot see what one is doing. Memorization might help also.

I conclude then that the poetry reading was useful in the way of ideas and entertaining in the way of talent and will certainly keep in mind these things for the next time.

Ian Dugan

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