On Saturday, my friend Shubh and I drove to Houston to attend the kickoff Texas Poetry Calendar reading at Blue Willow Books. I had even more fun this year than I did last year, primarily because I knew so many people this year; in fact, last year’s Blue Willow reading was my major initiation into the Texas poetry community, and was the catalyst for many new friendships, with poets both in Austin and in other cities.
Dos Gatos press editor Scott Wiggerman served as your emcee, and he ran a smooth event. There were twenty-one poets, and he still managed to keep the reading within the scheduled timeframe (this, I have noticed, is harder than it looks). Because we had so many poets in attendance, we only got to read two pieces: the poem we had in the calendar, and one other piece. Even though each poet only had a few minutes of time, it still gave me the chance to appreciate everyone there.
Of course, the real fun came when we arrived in Houston and I realized I’d forgotten the folio where I keep all of my poems. It was still sitting on my bed, back in Austin. Of course, I had easy access to my calendar poem, so that wasn’t an issue. But, of course, there was still the issue of my second poem.
Now, while I don’t hold it against anyone who reads a poem off of their smartphone (folders get forgotten, notebooks get lost, things happen), I personally don’t care for the aesthetic of reading directly off of a small screen like that. Of course, my phone was pretty much the only access I had to my poems, otherwise situated 200 miles away. But thanks to the power of Dropbox, I managed to pull up a shorter poem that I had mostly memorized, get the middle portion square in my mind, and perform without the assistance of my device. Crisis averted!
After a wonderful 90 minutes of poetry, we had time to browse the shop, and then a group of us went to dinner at Carmelo’s, which I contend is the only worthwhile Italian restaurant in the entire state of Texas (there are many things I love about living here; the Italian cuisine leaves something to be desired). Dinner lasted even longer than the reading did, as we shared wonderful discussions about poetry, along with great food.
As with any other poetry reading, when Shubh and I headed back to Austin, I was feeling inspired (this time even more so because of the great dinner and conversation afterward). I have ideas for new poems, and am returning to the idea I had earlier this summer, to create a feminist poetry festival in Austin (the amount of work is intimidating, but this idea can’t be shaken). We had a lovely drive home, and I couldn’t wait to get to work on Sunday.
Now I need to prepare to be the featured poet at the Kick Butt Coffee Poetry Open Mic in September (more on that later). My goal is to have the poems in my 30-minute set memorized….so I’d better get to work!