Question to the Blogger

If there's several thousand people there, how do you manage to have personal conversations with such great poets? Are you very bold, or does that mean you have "arrived" as a poet?

The Dodge Poetry Festival venues are set up so that there are one-one-one sessions, group sessions with three or four poets, and larger readings in the main stage tent, either 30-minute readings by one poet or 30 poets reading for 5 minutes each. The events outside of the main stage tent can hold 200-500 people at a time.

The great thing about Dodge is that the poets make themselves accessible. For instance, I ran into Sharon Olds when she first arrived for yesterday's session (she's a former teacher of mine), and Robert Hass I caught in the book tent. Martín Espada I spoke with briefly after his reading. Also, most sessions, whether they are readings or conversations with poets, leave time for questions and answers.

I don't know if I'm bold (and I certainly haven't arrived), but I make it a point to speak with as many people as I can at these events. I’m not one to pass up an opportunity like this. Besides, I love talking about poetry and, in particular, the Dodge Poetry Festival. Here, I can talk about poetry and be understood without any explanation. And it gives me a chance to listen to powerful, thoughtful words and ideas among people who practice the craft that I depend upon for my very survival. I can’t put a finer point on that.

Blogging about it is my way of sharing this experience, which is nothing short of life-affirming every time I attend.

Thanks for the questions and comments. Keep ’em coming!


~ said…
Good for you! When I get near I poet I really admire I tend to mumble ridiculous things like, "Your book, me likey likey."

I completely lose my head and would not even have a question to ask. I'm shy/overwhelmed like that. However, if I'm not worshipping a poet, I can talk to them for days. ;-)
susan said…
Will you complete this meme? If yes, please leave a link here: Writer's Meme

If you believe the personal is political, how is this reflected in your work or life?

Are there any dominating themes, images or ideas prevalent in your body of work?

What theme(s) or idea(s) have you avoided in your work? Why?

Are you drawn to any particular themes, ideas or styles of poetry?

Who are some of your favorite poets (writers) and why?
Catherine said…
Thanks for answering my question, Jan. Of course, I forgot that you would have former teachers (Sharon Olds - lucky you). My own degree is in chemistry, and I also have a business qualification, so no poets among my teachers there!
Keep the great reports coming.
odessa said…
yes, good for you! how brave. i think i'd turn into an adolescent fangirl when i see a writer that i admire. :)

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