Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dodge Log: Day Two

Saturday, we had several hours with no rain. In fact, the sun almost came out for a few minutes. *sigh* The weather has been brutal these past few days.


I was impressed by the range of poems spoken throughout the day. The featured poets seemed genuinely happy that their works were well received, so much so that many of them tried out new, unpublished poems. Sharon Olds read odes. Franz Wright read new poems. Mark Doty read a very new poem about a three-legged stag (I know, that description does not do the poem justice—and I can’t think of the poem’s title). And, of course, Robert Hass read new poems about the death of his brother.


Got a hug from Sharon Olds. We chatted about my kids and her new book. And I was able to tell her about my new book. *smile!*

Also, I met Martín Espada today. He has such a powerful voice and quite a presence that meeting him was quite a thrill.


My friend, Joseph Legaspi, gave an unbelievable reading today. He deserves his own post with much more detail. Coming soon.


The undercurrent in all the sessions: politics and poetry. It’s so apparent how much writers need each other, now more than ever. Poets tend to be outsiders, so being in a group of outsiders was comforting. Think of it: all of us huddled under an oversized tent, taking shelter from the vitriolic political climate. This poetry fortified us so that we will be able to go back into our lives and do some good.


My favorite line of the evening, our call to action, so to speak, happened during the Poetry Sampler. Before he began reading, Robert Hass talked about the Iraq war, throwing out body counts and the numbers of lives lost on both sides, and how the Bush administration and John McCain call The Surge a success. Hass then goes into a litany, asking, “Where is Walt Whitman?” “Where are Rosa Parks and Henry David Thoreau?” And then the line I’ll remember beyond this night:

“Something has gone wrong with the moral imagination of America.”

1 comment:

susan said...

Yes! I am so glad you were there and that you're willing to share the experience with us. Goosebumps are running down my arms. God bless, Haas and all the poets who are speaking out.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, January.


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