A, Her Name Is Alice
Just got in from Alice Lovelace's second 21st birthday bash and it was a hoot. The party was held at the Georgia Citizens Coalition on Hunger headquarters, which is on the campus of the New Schools at Carver campus in southeast Atlanta. All the local literati were on hand to sing and perform poems for Alice, who is Atlanta's godmother of spoken word. I whipped out "Wonder Woman" and "Why I Want to Be Pam Grier" in her honor. A fantastic evening for a very great lady. She's been a friend and mentor for so many years, and helped me find my political voice. After the Poison is dedicated to her for that reason. She's fearless and her tireless efforts to bring social justice and change is second to none. Happy "21st," Alice!
Last night was the Poetry at Tech reading featuring Karen Head, Chelsea Rathburn, Bruce McEver and John Skoyles. There was a packed house for the reading hosted by Tom Lux. Karen was absolutely brilliant last night and her reading of "May Day Sermon" was spot on. Chelsea was also fantastic, reading mostly new work and John Skoyles brought the house day with his clever poems and his impersonation of poet Allen Grossman. I loved his poem "Uncle Grossman" and the stories he told about growing up in Brooklyn.
I told Rupert Fike when we were walking out of the reading last night that I felt like my poetry voice had completely shut down while I've been writing fiction again. I got home last night and was about to go to bed when I started flashing on all these images of people from the reading, so I grabbed my notebook (I'd already powered down the laptop) and wrote a first draft longhand -- something I rarely do. It's nice to know the muse is bringing multiple blessings these days.
On Wednesday night I was the guest judge for Westlake High School's Poetry Out Loud competition. They had an amazing 41 students turn out to recite poems in hopes of making it to the state competition and on to the big recitation contest in Washington D.C. this spring. Elijah Orengo, a Westlake student and last year's representative from Georgia, won yet again. He read T. S. Eliot's "Preludes" and nailed every word and nuance. The kid is simply amazing. I'm slated to emcee the state competition at the Atlanta History Center at the end of the month. More on that soon.
I hope to spend most of this weekend writing and revising on the second novel, and I have a feeling an early galley of Conquering Venus will be coming my way soon.