Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reading at Cornelia Street Cafe

Elizabeth Harrington asked Jackie Sheeler and me to read with her last night, and the reading at Cornelia Street Cafe was seamed with gold. Without prior consultation, all three of us read poems about family. Perhaps with Thanksgiving in our minds, we read about childhood, sickness, loneliness and loss. Jackie's poems deployed detail and imagery in a most telling way. Her assured performance elicited every response from the audience the poems aimed for. Betsy's reading voice was quieter, and perhaps more hesitant, but her poems came out of the deep pit of self.

I read mostly new poems, about my grandfather, my father and TH, and did not quite find my groove. Afterwards EN pointed out perceptively why. I was influenced by Jackie's accomplished reading, and so semi-consciously tried to read like her to get the same audience response she did, although my poems are built differently. EN and I thought it was my competitive streak showing up again. But this morning I think it had as much to do with insecurity as with competitiveness. The poems are rather new; I am not sure how good they are. I wanted to read them because together they chart the arc of my relationship with TH. I wanted to mark, in some way, our breakup.

1. Floor Tiling
2. What's Left
3. Attribution
4. You Know, Don't You
5. The Wine Bottle Holder
6. Albuquerque No. 7
7. Leave with Nothing
8. The Dying and the Living
9. A Whole History
10. In His Other House

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