My friends, Julie Johnson and Abby Minor, have assumed organizing duties this summer for the 4th Fridays Poetry Reading series at The Green Drake.
If you’re a fan of poetry or music or artistic people in general, I highly recommend (in this order): 1. making friends with people in Millheim; 2. spending time at Inglebean Coffee House, Elk Creek Cafe, and The Green Drake art gallery; 3. taking any opportunity to spend an evening just wallowing in the creativity of the people around you. Seriously, I’ve never been to an event that didn’t make me inordinately happy and much less lonely (in the way creative people–read: odd people–get lonely sometimes).
They’ve kindly offered me a slot this month (this week actually) on Friday, June 28, at 8pm. I’ll be reading with Jackie Campbell. And I got the scoop on the order of events for the night. Says Abby:
- Julie and I open the reading with 10-15 minutes of selected poems loosely organized around a theme
- Invited reader #1 reads for 15-20 minutes
- Short intermission
- Open mic
- Invited reader #2 reads for 15-20 minutes
It promises to be another wonderful night. So please come. And grab a Winkleblink Ale at Elk Creek on your way–I know that’s where I’ll be.
My husband and I spend Saturdays in coffee shops. We’ve done this since we met in grad school in northern Virginia, where there are lots of independent coffee shops with award-winning (literally) baristas, the likes of which set Louis CK adrift in the mire of profanity. Murky Coffee in Arlington was just an easy place for us to date, to talk about our writing, to make fun of strangers, to read really pretentious books. Plus, we were poor and couldn’t afford dinner out. (Too bad it closed after the owner was sued for tax evasion. At least, that’s what we heard.)
Nowadays, it’s the one time every week I set aside to slog through the ugly side of poetry. First, I wring out ideas/lines/images (read: mostly junk) from my brain–I literally dump them in list form into a word document and name it “poem ideas” with a number. When that list gets too long, I start a new word document, and by now I have like forty of these. Then I catalogue this week’s rejections in duotrope and also in yet another word document, cause I started keeping track this way before duotrope existed and can’t quite kick it, even though rationally I understand it just doubles my work.
Then I avoid poems for a while. I check facebook, read friends’ blogs, look up recipes, and panic when I realize the coffee shop closes in an hour. I end with an incredibly focused round of submitting–it’s not pretty. It’s more like mopping up the blood of the person you just stabbed, as the sound of police sirens gets closer and closer.
On rare days, I write a (really bad) draft of a (really cliché) poem. Most days, I leave feeling pretty uplifted by (1) the piddly amount I got done, (2) the delicious-even-though-gluten-free cookie I ate, (3) and the beautifully firm yet airy foam of my decaf latte.