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!
9 thoughts on “Weekend Adventures, Part 1: Blue Willow Books”
Awesome! Thank you for sharing.
I Love the idea of a feminist poetry festival. Suggestion? Kickstarter! I’ll help any way I can.
I’m pretty excited that people are interested in this. Guess I have to stop keeping it as an idea and get to work!
We loved your post. And your poem rocked the whole afternoon! Sarah and I are still talking about it.
That’s so nice to hear. 🙂
I always enjoy visiting Blue Willow. You have a wonderful shop.
I loved your poem, and it was great to meet you, Allyson. I am interested in your feminist poetry festival !
Great to meet you, too, Darla! I’ll keep people posted on the festival as things develop.
I meant also to say, congrats on your poem being accepted by Big River Poetry Review, I saw it a few minutes ago !
Several years ago, I visited my brother in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Although we’d planned the visit in advance, for some reason, my brother didn’t think to tell me that I was invited to attend his monthly poets’ meeting where participants critique each other’s work. At the time, I didn’t have a laptop or Dropbox, but fortunately, I have a Website, and my brother was able to access and print one of my poems from there. Unfortunately, he couldn’t print it large enough for me to read it so I asked him to read it aloud to the group. Actually, that’s not a bad thing. It’s good to hear someone else read your work from time to time b because hearing it in a different voice can give you a new perspective on the work.
My brother, a physicist with a P.H.D., is too busy to maintain a Website. Last year, he mailed me some of his poems, and I scanned and saved them on my computer. If he ever comes to town around the time of my monthly poets’ group meeting, he’s covered.
Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap:
Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver
Just came across this blog post, Allyson–you captured the day very well (but you have me wanting another trip to Carmelo’s!).