Ten Things You Should Know About Dodge

All this talk about the Dodge Poetry Festival and I haven’t really talked about the festival itself. I think I’m hung up on the fact that I can’t find my photos from the last two events. Drat! Anyway, here’s my take on the festival, in no particular order:

  1. Bring comfortable shoes because it can rain, which means muddy trails to and from venues.

  2. Always attend events featuring Robert Bly and/or Lucille Clifton. They command a Sunday audience because their readings are more fluid and spiritual that those of other poets.

  3. Always attend an event where Franz Wright gets to speak his mind. He usually has something interesting to say that’s counter to what everyone else is thinking, especially about MFA programs.

  4. I'm hugh fan of Mark Doty's work, and look forward to hearing him read at Dodge every time. But for Pete's sake, please don't read the poem Golden Retrevals. He's read it at the last two festivals and in every public appearance in between.

  5. Don’t go to poetry readings carrying bags of books to have your favorite author sign them. It’s annoying for the poet, and for the people who bought a single book to have autographed. So tacky. Take your e-Bay books somewhere else.

  6. Always go to venues featuring “Poets Among Us.” These are budding poets, and an event like this can be a springboard for his/her career.

  7. Expect to hear all kinds of poetry at the Open Mic Tent. Okay—expect to hear BAD poetry at the Open Mic Tent.

  8. The food vendors sell moderate to lousy food. Not worth the expense. But then again, there’s nothing in the surrounding area. In fact, I didn’t find the local mall until our last visit, which was my fourth time at Dodge.

  9. Don’t bring your manuscript in progress because no established poet will want to read it.

  10. And, last but not least, please, please, please don’t expect any big answers or solutions for an easier life as a poet.

    Bow Wow.


Catherine said…
Despite all your warnings, I still think "lucky, lucky you" for being able to go. I'll be looking forward to your posts from Dodge.
January said…
You should come to Dodge sometime--if not this year, maybe in 2008.

Even the slighly negative comments on my list, I love. That's what makes the festival unique. I wouldn't trade the Dodge experience for the world.
mareymercy said…
So jealous you've actually been to this. I always tell myself I'll get up there - but the timing is horrible for me. Maybe 2008, when I'm no longer teaching...

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