Today I will be reading a few poems from my book at the Bedlam Farm Open House and at Battenkill Books in Cambridge, New York. There will be artists and farm life demonstrations. I will have books for sale. It should be a busy and fun weekend for us all. The weather, too, looks beautiful.
I haven’t read any of my own writing aloud in many years. The last time, I think, was an English paper I wrote about Virginia Woolf that I presented in college over 20 years ago. It’s hard to believe it’s been so long.
Jon took this photo of Maria and I last week. Neither one of us is a very cooperative subject, I think, but it is hard to say no to Jon’s persuasion. He also wrote a post briefly chronicling our friendship, which you can read here.
He and Maria are my heroes, my supporters. They have truly made their art, their work, and their life into one great world, and they are open to sharing that world with others. It is a miracle to see and feel, especially as someone who was alone with her work and words for so long. And for it, I am eternally grateful.
So I’m very excited and nervous, but also happy to share my work with people. Poetry is meant to be read aloud, I believe, as much as it is meant to be a silent, internal experience. The words reaching from one human being to another in audible form give it more life and meaning somehow. I recall the feeling from reading Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass aloud many years ago in Albany, New York, along with almost a hundred other people who read aloud parts of the epic poem over a long weekend.
It was a special experience, sharing words, verses, even ones not my own, but so powerful as Whitman’s work is. I hope I can give the same thing to the people who come and listen to me read today. I hope the readings this weekend are only the first of more to come. If you are in the area, I hope you can join us.