50º ~ finally it feels a bit more like fall, still too much sun and not enough rain, one of the hottest and now one of the driest summers on record
Again, no draft today because of my traveling earlier in the week; however, I'm so fortunate to be able to report that the entire trip was a huge success from beginning to end. Huge gratitude goes out to Stephanie Kartalopoulos, who hosted me, and my cousin (and wonderful poet) Marta Ferguson, with whom I was able to reconnect a bit. The city of Columbia is near and dear to my heart after living there for a year in the late 90's, and I was so happy to discover that little had changed around the Mizzou campus and 9th street.
Hearing Voices Reading Series put on by the Orr Street Studios in Columbia. Big thanks go out to Allison Smythe, Karen, and Nellie, for organizing the series (apologies for not writing down your last names K & N!). The reading series takes place in an artists' collective, which means I was surrounded by not only beautiful people as I read, but also beautiful works of art.
Several hours before the reading I received another surprise. Emili Carlson, a friend of Steph's and a grad student at Mizzou in architectural studies, emailed and asked if she could do a photo shoot of the reading for a photojournalism class she is taking as an elective. The photos here are from that shoot. Very cool. (Many thanks, Emili!)
The reading itself was wonderful. A great audience was on hand with a mix of Columbia folks and Mizzou folks. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Cornelius Eady and Aliki Barnstone, both on the faculty of Mizzou's PhD in Creative Writing program. For the reading, I covered quite a few poems from Blood Almanac and then read a few of the newer poems from the new book. All seemed well received. Hearing Voices provides a Q&A time after the writer finishes reading, and just like in Steph's class, the questions showed a sincere engagement with my work and a real desire to know more about me and the poems. It's amazingly flattering to know that these poems that were written in solitude have a life of their own out in the world, and I'm still riding high on that energy.
After the reading, Steph had a few people over for some wine & cheese and poetry talk. All good fun and the making of many memories to carry me through the second half of the semester!