Poetry Readers

Today found me reciting poems to various people and groups in the hallways around the conference. It was in part a salve to keep my crankiness to a minimum.

Then I turned around and found an email from the infamous Chris Massey with the subject line “Public poetry stands”:

I have a couple of pictures of my kids, when Jessie was about 9 and Alex was 5, standing in the driveway in front of the Olds Delta 88 with a book of Shel Silverstein and a sign that reads “Poem Reader. Kids under 12, 5 cents; ADULT 25 cents. Hours: 11:30 – 3:30 PM. P.S. Tickets at Big Tree.” As a loss leader, they offered free drinks to lure customers in…Maybe we should revive neighborhood poetry readers.

One Response to “Poetry Readers”

  1. anne Says:

    There’s something poignant to me about this comment from Chris. I realized as I read it that in my church, we read aloud to each other so much, and sing to each other. Not just hymns and bible verses, but poems and history and plays too. I am so fortunate to have a place where we speak carefully written words to one another.

    I also am thinking about the Poet’s Corner at the Cathedral of St John the Divine, where I was yesterday, and of the phrases they pulled out to represent each American writer who has a plaque there. What a chorus they made together, in stone, and continued on paper, in Muriel Rukeyser’s Poet’s Corner project, where every poem sent to the Cathedral is posted. (Mail poems to Poet’s Corner, St John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY, 10025.)

    I’m thinking also about how the rise in technological thus-and-suching is starting to refocus — for some of us, at least — the sacramental of real human interaction. The same way a typerwriter made a hand written letter that much more meaningful. To be fully in someone’s presence, or to bring greetings with you from a person you have seen in one place to someone in another one.

    Some deep power resides in these sustaining bonds– a voice in space, a hand touched that once touched an other hand, eyes that saw one shining face, then saw an other.

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