A PERFECT READING: Last night the Georgia Center for the Book hosted a poetry reading at the Decatur Library featuring Tom Lux, M. Ayodele Heath, Chelsea Rathburn and Travis Denton. I would say it was one of the best readings I've been to in ages. Each poet read for about 10 or 15 minutes, kept to their time limit, and there was a brief Q&A to wrap up. The evening clocked in at just under 90 minutes and I left wanting more, but was satisfied with what I heard -- the hallmark of a successful reading. Tom said a study was conducted showing that hearing poetry stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain. Mine were definitely stimulated last night.

The poets trotted out new work (another plus in my book) and sat around a table reading rather than behind a lectern. The poets were relaxed and something about them just sitting and sharing their work made it very intimate. Travis' pop culture-laced poetry is so observant and funny; Tom's work is both humorous and melancholy (the one called "Sugar Spoon" about his parents using the same spoon for decades and how one day it will disintegrate and leave a "milky way across the kitchen table" was brilliant); Chelsea read one of my favorite poems "The Sixth Grade Lunchroom" from her collection The Shifting Line and some excellent new pieces; Ayo read new work (hooray!) and closed the evening so strongly with his moving and humorous work, including a new pantoum about how AIDS is ravaging Haiti.

After the reading, I had a chance to talk with my poetry compatriots in the audience like Kamla, Rupert, Cleo and Ron Hughes. There was probably more than 50 people in the auditorium, which for a reading is big success. With this kind of star power, I wouldn't have expected any less.

What I love most about evenings like this is the transference of energy you get from hearing the poems. It made me want to come home and write. So I did.


Anonymous said…
Sounds like the reading was fabulous-- hate that I missed it. I should see you this Friday!
"Poetry leaps from person to person and it is up to each to record its passage." -MM
Anonymous said…
I'm a Lux fan so I definitely wish I had been there!
bookfraud said…
the reading sounds excellent. being that he taught at my grad school, i could add my own tom lux story, but i wouldn't want to in front of a bunch of his fans. ;)
jenni said…
I wish I lived closer to someplace that had readings. Sounds like a wonderful time, Collin.
M. Shahin said…
Poetry does stimulate the brain, and hearing poetry just about gives you wings to fly :-)

Glad you found a wonderful poetic energy center at the reading.

Thanks for taking us along with you on that poetry reading. I felt like I was there.

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