POETRY HIGH, GRANT HELL: On Thursday night I headed out in the freezing weather to the Decatur Library to see a reading by Alice Lovelace and Louise Runyon, who is celebrating the publication of her latest collection Landscape / Fear & Love. I figured there would be a pretty decent crowd because both these ladies have a following and put on an entertaining reading. What I didn't realize was the history they had together.
Louise and Alice first performed together in the early 1980s (that's them in the photo back in the day) and have gone on to become noted poets and artists and in Louise's case, a dancer. This reunion reading turned out to be a standing room only affair and both of them were on fire. Alice did some of her most well known poems during her first set, then Louise read from her first collection, Reborn. Alice had everyone hooting and clapping over her political poems like "Freakin' Out." Louise did a beautiful interpretive dance to accompany one of her pieces. In Alice's second set, she read from a new manuscript of very personal, confessional poetry. She had started this work back in 2004 when we were both in a workshop with Cecilia Woloch. It was very moving poetry about her family, and "Praise Song For My Mother" is still ringing in my head. Louise's second set was full of nature -- both darkness and light -- as well as honest work about the dysfunctional relationship she's had with her own mother. Alice and Louise received a much deserved standing ovation at the end of the evening.
I spent all of Saturday writing a 10 page narrative for a Poetry Atlanta grant. We have a very exciting project we need funding for, so I really buckled down and tried to write the best grant proposal I've ever written. The narrative is just one part. I have 10 days to get a budget together and fill out pages and pages of application forms. It's going to be down to the wire getting this thing turned in on Jan. 16 by 5 p.m.