Katherine West of Green Fuse Poetic Arts in Loveland, CO, set up a little book tour for four women, published this year, to read at the first Visions and Re-visions of Women in History reading series. I was one of those women, with my chapbook “What’s Left,” a poetic dialog between my mother and me.
The other poets were Claudia Van Gerven with her humorous feminist poems, “The Ends of Sunbonnet Sue, ” and Karen Brock with her nature poetry chapbook, “Collector of Landscapes.” The fourth of our writers was Mim Neal with her spiritual memoir, Tree Lines.
I asked Katherine to read my mother’s poems while I read my own, thus creating a sixteen-minute dramatic production of two voices in “call and response.” She and I did three readings–in Boulder, CO on Oct. 4, at the Innisfree Book Store; at the Loveland Public Library on Oct. 6; and at the Good Samaritan Village (a senior residential community) in Loveland, on Oct. 7.
I took pictures only at the Loveland Public Library, a beautiful, recently expanded venue. Here’s the main entrance hallway.
And the Gertrude Scott room where we held the reading at 7:00, Saturday night.
Moments before we began, Katherine West (with the long hair) is talking to Mim Neal, who read first.
Katherine and I were the second readers. Here are a few lines from Mom’s poem, “Fourteen“:
I see a faint glow under the shadow of the eaves.
She is reading. It is after midnight. She calls,
“I am all right!”
But I am not sure.
Fourteen was my saddest most desolate year.
And some lines from my response poem, also titled “Fourteen“:
But when summer came
I sewed and decorated the playhouse
Played to the kind of house I wanted–
An audience of none.
My first night alone, away
Just me, my lamp and Zane Grey.
That evening an audience of about 35 came to hear us read, and several talked to me afterwards . . . and even purchased copies.
Sunday afternoon Katherine lined me up to lead a “discussion group” at the senior residential community, Good Samaritan Village. To be honest, I was panic stricken beforehand. I was never a school teacher and have never led a discussion group, although I’ve led many a writing group. Yet I pulled it off and the ten people who came seemed to enjoy talking about their mothers and sharing ideas about poetry.