Last night’s reading and open mic was fantastic! I had a great time reading my work, listening to some terrific local poets, and enjoying really good Mexican food.
The reading was held at Café Azteca, with its walls decorated with brightly colored murals. Also, each mural had a bit of verse from a well-known poet or writer.
I think for an audience to come out and support poetry in this day and age, you really have to have advocates. It also helped that it was nearly 60 degrees last night. The Frost Foundation and the Eagle Tribune/Salem News continually remind the community that poetry matters, and that it is worth supporting. So I owe big debt of thanks to Mark Schorr, in particular, for asking me to read.
This was my first time as a featured speaker, an honor I took very seriously. I mean, since I’m not a particularly strong public speaker, I was very conscious of not making mistakes or not talking to much between poems, and very aware of the audience's reactions.
My husband, Tim, came with me for support (a rare night out as a couple!), yet his observations will influence how I approach reading poetry in the future. For instance, I had one poem that broke the mood because of where it was placed. The poem was about abuse, yet because I put it in the middle of a group of family poems, it was disruptive to the flow. All in all, I couldn't have been happier with my performance (no other critic is tougher of herself than me).
The crowd was generous with their kind words and applause, and I was certainly humbled by the experience.