Since my last post, I have had three public readings from Food for a Journey. At the first, on January 31, at a reception for community volunteers, thirty-odd neighbors listened attentively to “Bargain Hunters.” Afterwards, some of those listeners were kind enough to purchase copies of the book. I am grateful to Jesse Cantrill for inviting me to read.
The second, on April 10, was the rescheduled reading from the snow-postponed January 24 event at the Bannockburn community center here in Bethesda. An overflow crowd of 24, including the one-year-old son of a good friend of my daughter Kate, attended. Doris Brody, another local poet, read several of her works, and I read four of mine. Two members of the audience, who had lived in Paris for periods of years, found that “Visiting Saint-Sulpice” brought back fond memories. I am grateful to Miriam Kelty for arranging the event.
The next day, April 11, I went down to Gonzaga College High School in the District for a poetry slam arranged by the school’s librarian, Patty Tobin. Perhaps lured by the promise of a free lunch of pizza and subs, fifty or sixty boys showed up. I read “Escalation” and “Food for a Journey,” a teacher in the school’s poetry writing program read two of his own poems, a guidance counselor read a poem by Mary Oliver, and then, mirabile dictu, more than a dozen students marched up and read their own poems. I was seriously impressed. I doubt that I would have had the nerve to do the same thing when I was a high school student. Thanks to Gennie Lalle for inviting me to participate.
Last Thursday, April 28, at the invitation of Kathy Stowe, program director of the Howard County Poetry and Literary Society (“HoCoPoLitSo” for short), my wife Ann and I drove over to Howard Community College in Columbia to attend the Blackbird Poetry Festival, jointly sponsored by the society and the college. Marie Howe, recently the Poet Laureate of New York State, and Sandra Beasley were the featured poets, and eleven students read from or recited their own work. It was great fun. Ms. Howe turned out to be a wryly humorous stand-up comic as well as an acclaimed and accomplished poet.
I am looking forward to the reading at Politics and Prose in the District on Sunday, May 22. Carol Jennings, who will reading with me there, will also be reading with me at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda on Sunday, July 10. We are looking forward to that reading as well.