Day Two: Round Up

Look at that. Look at all these people sitting here to listen to ... POETRY! Only at Dodge.

Here are my general Dodge impressions. Top of my head. In no particular order. Forgive the typos. Sorry, no links.

1. Dodge is AWESOME! I know that doesn't tell you much but for a poet this is nirvana. Everyone comes with open minds and hearts. Nowhere else can I hear 19 poets read in 10 minute intervals. Nowhere else can I hear Billy Collins and Anne Waldman read on the same stage.

2. I just don't get Anne Waldman. Really, someone explain her to me. Can you call her screeching and histrionics poetry? I know she's associated with Allen Ginesberg and the beat poets. I know she's got the Jack Kerouac School for Disembodies Poets and Niropa. But really, WTF? Her performance poetry scares me. I want to understand her so I'm going a session with Anne, Toi Derricotte, Taslima Nasreen, and Linda Pastan called Conversation: Poetry and the Lives of Women. Wish me luck.

3. I really should say more uplifting things about poets I don't like.

4. Billy Collins knows his sh*t. I know he's on a lot of hit lists for mass producing poetry, but hearing him talk about craft reminds me how intelligent he is about the topic. He says the two things he tries to hide in his personality is his sentementality and his sarcasm. But both come through in his work without fail every time.

5. Lucille Clifton. Miss Lucille. She's the only poet I've never had the oppounity to study with, and I regret that to this day. I've met her on many occasions and through CC. But she's one of those rare poets who makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Her readings and talks at Dodge are always packed. If you've never had the opportunity to see her read, please do so.

6. I'm always impressed by who is selected as a Poet Among Us. These spots are usually coveted by up and coming poets just making a name for themselves. Some poets to watch: Terrance Hayes, Ross Gay, Daisy Fried, Mathtea Harvey, Elizabeth Alexander.

7. As always, seeing Cave Canem fellows does my heart good. So many beautiful black faces enjoying poetry. And now many members are publishing first books. Such a blessing.

8. Poets who impressed me: Tony Hogland, Sekou Sundiata, Kurtis Lamkin, Linda Pastan, Terrance Hayes.

9. From Billy Collins' talk. He said that poetry is about trying to get strangers to get interested in your perspective. Your friends will listen, but strangers?

10. From Lucille Clifton's talk: why does international poetry overwhelming include a western perspective?

11. Not a Republican-friendly crowd at Dodge.

12. Brian Turner writes about war and combat from a first-hand perspective. In an age when poetry seems to skirt around political issues, he addresses them head-on in his work.

13. Robert Bly can still bring the house down with his words.

14. Poets I'd like to see here in 2008: Li-Young Lee, Kim Addonizio, Mark Strand, Naomi Shihab Nye, Louise Gluck, Lois Ann Yamanyaka, Carl Phillips, Gary Soto, and Jim Brock.


Bug said…
This sounds AMAZING! Being around 100s of people who are inspired by and in love with the same things you are is such an amazing experience. I'm so glad you get to have it this w/e!

I love this line: From Billy Collins' talk. He said that poetry is about trying to get strangers to get interested in your perspective. Your friends will listen, but strangers?

That's such a good goal for any writer.
twitches said…
Ah, thanks for these comments. I was waiting to hear about Dodge - please post more later!!
January said…
Bug--not hundreds. THOUSANDS!
ecm said…
Sounds like a fantastic time. I love your list! Great photo...very inspiring.

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