Sunday, April 17, 2011

Entertaining Violence and Grief

This morning spills over, with gratitude. For friends who generously hosted parties for my new book, HS last Sunday at her apartment on the UWS, and VM and JF last night at their Sunnyside house. They prepared huge amounts of food, made everyone, old friends and new, feel so welcomed, and spoke kindly about my work before I read. For the friends who took time out too, to attend the parties, I am thankful. I am especially grateful to those who attended the last party for Equal to the Earth, and then came back for more. A number told me that they now own two or all three of my books. Beyond all else, I am grateful to be read.

On both occasions, as I read the title sequence from Seven Studies for a Self Portrait, I was acutely aware of the violence and grief in the poems. I was reawakened to them, perhaps, by the violence and grief that I know have visited a number of people in the room. I had entertained the thought of not reading the Frida Kahlo poem, for fear that it would touch too close recent wounds, but I thought better of it, and read the poem. For poetry to matter, it has to describe our sorrows and injuries in some least inadequate way. That is my responsibility, as I realized afresh from the readings.


Ms. said...

Just took a brief tour around your blog and am quite exhausted by the wealth of material you have posted. So much thought, so much expression, and you are brave , beautiful and bold to be so giving.

Jee Leong Koh said...

I hope not too exhausted to come back for more! Thanks for reading.