Category Archives: school

relating to my and others’ respective educations

Sweetbitter

Sweetbitter

Saturday started out a good day. I didn’t have work, I didn’t waste the day sleeping, I didn’t have to make breakfast (someone made it for me), and I actually cleared out some of the emails that have been languishing in my inbox for ages (“achievement unlocked!”). I managed to get to a dress rehearsal on time and didn’t complain about how long it was (three hours!). I got to hear Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity played live by a full orchestra and I fell in love with the music all over again. I shipped off a box of coffee to a friend (I hope she’s a friend, at least!) who writes great 1×2 fanfiction. I picked up a couple of (expensive! ugh) choral music folders so that my sister and I can stop borrowing from the school for every concert.

There was a moment while I was driving yesterday afternoon on Colorado in Pasadena and I had to stop for a red light. No big deal; I’m not in a hurry, I like people watching, and heaven knows that Saturday afternoon in Old Town is exactly the right time to be people watching. I just happen to be at a light that has a catty corner crosswalk—the type of crosswalk that allows pedestrians to walk diagonally across the street as well as at right angles. So the rhythm of the street light at that corner is: drive forward, stop and wait for cars to cross, all cars stop and wait for people to walk. I sat there in the midst of… so much life… watching people use the diagonal crosswalk and just felt… happy. It’s silly, I guess, but I really love the streets, being able to mingle with people even without knowing them, sharing lives for just a split second while waiting for a chance to cross. It reminded me of New York City and I thought to myself, “Maybe I’m starting to like this city the way I loved New York.”

I went home and had a good evening with my parents. We had soup for dinner and I baked banana bread with pecans for a family friend’s birthday (“See?” my mother said when she tasted it, “you are a cook!”—“Well, I can bake,” I said, “but I’m not really exactly a cook.”). We watched an episode of Keeping Up Appearances and then sat in amiable silence working on separate projects for maybe two or three hours.

After my parents went to bed, I finished up editing some accepted submissions for the June issue of Hippocampus. I started answering neglected emails and as the next couple of hours progressed, I’ve become more and more homesick. (I don’t think it’s helped that I’ve been listening to “Black Balloon” and “Iris” on repeat, either, since those tracks are especially nostalgic for me.) I think it started after I watched a great performance of the poem “The last love letter from an Entomologist…” though I wasn’t really thinking about it seriously until I realized that I was homesick.

I was confused at first; how can I be homesick? I already am home. Literally: I’m sitting here in the house where I grew up. I have my own room, the room that I painted dark blue (my mother refused to let me paint it black) with red trim during the summer between my junior and senior years in high school. I have shelves and shelves of books, my own bed, and a desk. I eat the food from the fridge and am happy to see my family when they get home (and when I get home). I don’t hate my job, and I even like my coworkers. I can’t be homesick; I’m already home.

But then I realized that stupid idiom is true: home is where the heart is. (Curse you, Pliny the Elder, for… for just knowing things in the first damn century CE!) I like it here, and I love my family, but it’s not where my heart truly is. My first thought was to Yager, one of my waterbrothers, whom I haven’t seen in more than a year and then only for less than a week and then I had to screw everything up like I always do when I love someone and that person has a significant other who doesn’t understand.

And then I thought of New York City, the mistress who damned me and left me to die. I thought of the catty corner crosswalk I saw last afternoon and realized I liked it because it was a tiny bit of New York, not because I was finally beginning to like the city in which I was already living. It had reminded me of New York, after all, why I hadn’t I seen it before?

I thought of another waterbrother, here where I live now, and I thought of picking up the phone—even at this late hour—and calling him and telling him I was heartsick. I know he’d come. He always does, when I need him. But I talked myself out it; I just hurt him when I need him like that, especially since I’m never able to return the gesture when he needs me in his own way. It’s amazing: a waterbrother who doesn’t understand his own position because I, sworn to him a tovarish forever, have failed at explaining it or making him feel it or communicating it properly in some way.

My heart is lost in a place where it can feel no heat. It hurts. If I am home and yet feel homesick, where does my heart really lie?

swallow the light from the sun

“The King and I” at Flintridge Prep

The King and II attended Friday (March 11) night’s performance of The King and I at Flintridge Preparatory School. I knew I’d be taking the bus (the school is on the other end of town from where I live), so I headed out the door a little after 6:30 to catch the bus in time for the curtain at 7:30. I got to the bus stop and waited. And waited. And waited. And finally called the number on the bus stop sign to check for the bus schedule, which said that the last bus of the evening came around 6:30. Since I’d left the house at around that time, I knew I’d already missed the last bus and, if I really wanted to see this show, was going to have to walk the rest of the way. Since one of my (now former) coworkers was in the show, I knew I wasn’t going to miss it if I could help it, so I started walking.

I got more than halfway from the bus stop to the school when… wouldn’t you know it? A godsdamned bus passed me. Damn, I was so angry, then. But I knew that I really had missed the last bus by that time (even though I’d just seen it fly by /anger & frustration), so I resolved to be angry (if I still felt like it) after I arrived at the school’s auditorium. When I finally made it to the auditorium foyer, I stood in line for my will call tickets (“Just one?” the guy behind the table asked. “Yes,” I said, and he handed it to me in a white envelope.) and as the guy handed them to me, the foyer lights began to dim and come back to full strength intermittently, which means that the audience should take their seats, if they haven’t already, because the show is about to begin.

Tuptim and Lun Tha
Tuptim, played by I. Weiss (a senior), and Lun Tha, played by Z. Myers (a junior)

I found my seat, about midway back from the stage on the far house right. (Unfortunately, this meant that I was unable to see the map of Siam, England and the world during the scene wherein Anna is teaching her students that Siam isn’t as big geographically as they think it is.) In any case, I settled in and tried to ignore the screaming high school fangirls who seemed to be completely surrounding me. (Ugh.) I told myself over and over that I could put up with it because, after all, it was a high school play, and I would put up with it for the sake of my friend in the production. (He played Lun Tha, Tuptim’s forbidden lover from Burma, on two of the four performance nights. See photo above.)

One thing I found interesting was the director’s note in the production’s program, in which he says, in part, “I told the cast on the very first day that we must cling to very important foundation points: tell the story as honest[ly] as we can and be as truthful and celebratory of the Siamese/Thai culture as possible.” My friend told me about this aspect of the musical in his excitement while the cast was still rehearsing, and it was that—aside from my willingness to support a friend in the arts—that made me want to see Flintridge Prep’s version of the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. The opening prayer and all the non-English dialogue was in either Pali or Thai, not just Asian-sounding gibberish, which—I admit—I was expecting from a high school production. I am, needless to say, glad that the director and cast rose above that.

Opening prayer
The opening prayer, which “celebrates the respect and pursuits of a learned mind”
according to the production’s program

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I is, of course, a grand and beautiful display of 1950s racism and sexism based on a film from the 1940s, which—in turn—was based on a book, Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon (which is itself fictional and based on the original Anna‘s admittedly already racist/sexist memoirs, The English Governess at the Siamese Court [1870] and Romance of the Harem [1872]). Talk about a game of Telephone! There is little doubt in my mind that any of the cast, or the director himself for that matter, ever read any of the source material to see for themselves how bad it actually is. (And it is bad.) The irony of having a mostly white American cast wasn’t lost on me; though now that I think about it, I’m not sure people of Siamese/Thai descent would actually want to be a part of something that degrades them so obviously.

Putting aside the content of the musical (over which, I understand, the director had no control, except that he chose it in the first place), the production itself was actually pleasantly surprising in terms of acting, costuming, and direction. My friend who played Lun Tha was especially surprising for me because I didn’t know before seeing the musical that he could sing at all. (In fact, I had playfully called him Justin Bieber, something to which he took offense, and something I now officially retract. He’s much better than said popstar.) I also thought it was a neat idea to have the principal roles split between two actors each so as to spread the love, so to speak, and take some pressure off of said principals to perform perfectly four nights in a row. Except for the King, who was played by the same actor in every show, the primary roles were split between actors who performed either Thursday and Saturday or Friday and Sunday. (I don’t know why the King’s role was reserved for just one actor, though I admit he was pretty good.)

King and I cast
The entire cast of Flintridge Prep’s The King and I

As I had never been to Flintridge Prep before, I was also surprised by the free refreshments during the intermission. I partook of two chocolate chip cookies and a cup of Zen green tea. I also bought a lavender rose for my friend (“Proceeds go to the theatre department”), complete with a tag with space for a note, just in case I didn’t see him after the play was over.

I think, if I wanted to, I could really delve deeply into the racism and sexism that’s built into the musical and think about why Flintridge Prep decided to stage its production here and now, but this review is already long enough so I’ll save my theories for another post when I have more time. (More time? What’s that?)

Photos courtesy of Flintridge Prep.

————
(Haha; new rule from now on: if I don’t write the damn review within a month of finishing the book/movie/event, I’m just not going to. Almost two months after the fact is just ridiculous.)

Happy Exelauno Day!

More about Exelauno Day below.
(In ancient Greek, I’m told, exelauno means “to march forth”… Oh, puns; you amuse me.)

First Things
The Roxbury Latin School
TV Barn, which includes:

…Exelauno Day, a holiday drummed up by some clever classics prof who realized that the verb exelauno means “to march forth.” It’s most prominently featured in the military text Anabasis, a popular first-year text thanks to its sentence structure, which is more repetitive than a George Bush press conference.

Hippocampus

Hippocampus

I encourage all my readers who write to consider submitting to Hippocampus Magazine, an online publication featuring creative non-fiction that will be debuting in May. It was dreamed up by a friend of mine, Donna Talarico, while we were still in school getting our M.F.A.s in Creative Writing. I’m really excited about the first issue (and the ones after that, too!)—and not just because I’m on the reading panel to choose what is accepted!

The magazine is named after a part of the brain that controls long-term memory and spatial reasoning, which in turn was given the Latin name for “seahorse” because that’s definitely what it looks like!

To learn more about Hippocampus, please read the mission statement. I’ve included abbreviated submission guidelines below. (“Abbreviated” means I’m only including the short version; for the full submission guidelines, please check the website.)

Submissions
Hippocampus Magazine enthusiastically accepts unsolicited submissions in the following categories: memoir, personal essay, reviews, interviews, & craft articles.

Memoir excerpts and personal essays – up to 2,000 words.
Memoir and nonfiction craft articles – up to 1,000 words.
Review of memoirs or nonfiction craft books – up to 800 words.
Interviews – send us a pitch first; tell us which notable writer or literary industry individual you would like to profile and why.
Have another memoir-related idea? Send us a query.

Hippocampus Magazine is a non-paying market; however, every published contributor gets a bio and link to his website or blog from the published article and a contributor page. One contributor from each issue can win bragging rights AND a prize if his piece is deemed “Most Memorable.”

Today, I drove

Today, I drove

Sometimes, it’s not worth it to chew through the restraints in the morning.

Today, I had an appointment to meet with my writing professor at the community college I attend (mostly for fun) to go over the new part-time position I’ll be holding for the college’s literary journal, Eclipse. The intern who is leaving was also coming to this meeting to show me the ropes and basically transfer all the paperwork, etc., to me. And, the department secretary (or chair, I’m not sure which) was going to be there to meet me and file all the paperwork and make it official and whatnot. Three people coming together to teach me something. It’d be in my best interest to show up, wouldn’t it?

The appointment was at 9:30 am. I had been planning on taking the bus, but I woke up later than I meant to; still, I wasn’t late yet. If I drove, I wouldn’t be late at all. I had time. For those of you who don’t know me, I don’t drive. I have a disorder called OCD that, in shorthand, prevents me from driving. It’s not that I can’t drive—I do have a license—but, well, I can’t. It’s somewhat complicated, but trust me when I say that getting behind the wheel is a big deal for me.

My sister was still asleep and, though I’m sure I could’ve woken her up and asked her to take me, I thought to myself, This is a good time to test my skills. I have to jump in sometime, right?

I grabbed the extra key from the wall (where we hang our extra keys) and headed out. I knew if I thought about it too much, I’d freak out, so I tried to do what my father says he and my brother do when they drive: be angry. Be angry at other drivers, poor parking jobs, traffic, whatever… so as to distract myself from the monumental task (at least for me) I was about to undertake.

I got in the car and turned the key; the engine sputtered to life, a good sign. I decided to take it slow (ie: avoid the freeway) since I hadn’t driven in, well, a while. I rolled down the hill and to the first stop sign. So far, so good. Turned right, then left at the next stop sign. When I got to the light, I turned on the radio to distract myself.

I thought, This could end up having been a Very Good or Very Bad Idea.

I turned left at the light and eased into a stop at the corner of H— and V—. When the light turned green, I slid through the intersection and headed down toward the college. After Verdugo, it’s basically a straight shot down to campus, so I relaxed a little and took a look around me. I started thinking about the position I was about to inherit (a paying job in my field of work!… even it was only a student job).

Right before I got to the part of the street where V— and L— meet (in front of the Magic Wok, if you know where that is), I glanced to my right. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a car roll out of a parking lot—right into the side of my car. There was a huge jolt, like I was playing bumper cars, and then nothing.

My first thought was, Blue sky and spidered windshields.

(That probably doesn’t make sense to anyone, so let me explain briefly. On 31 December 1999, my cousin and I were driving on a hilly gravel road in Texas outside of Austin in a Suburban SUV-type vehicle. The road was really only wide enough for one car, so when another truck came hurtling over the hill in front of us, my cousin (who was driving) swerved to avoid hitting it. He swerved back the other direction to avoid hitting some trees, and we flipped the SUV and landed upside down in a ditch on the other side of the road. I remember looking at the beautiful blue sky through the front windshield, which had cracked to look like a spider’s web.)

When my brain thinks there’s danger, I usually work well until the (immediate) threat has passed, at which time I completely fall apart. That instinct kicked in. I pulled over, put the car in neutral, and got out to wait for the other guy. He immediately pulled to the side (he’d just been pulling out of the parking lot, anyway) and got out with profuse apologies. I looked over my car where he’d hit it—there wasn’t even a dent. Not a scratch. It was practically a miracle. His car wasn’t that much worse off for the wear, either—just a dented bumper, which is exactly what bumpers are for, after all. He was an older man in a fishing hat and coke-bottle glasses; it’s possible he miscalculated the distance between my car the space his car was taking up—I have no idea. We exchanged information and I headed back home; no way was I going to have a break down in my professor’s office in front of people I didn’t even know.

As soon as I got home, I called my professor and tearfully explained the situation. He was sympathetic and, amid my repeated apologies, rescheduled all of us for another time. I sat down immediately to begin writing what happened (just in case something comes of it, which—admittedly—I doubt) when I remembered I’d left something in the car. I headed back out to get it and, for some unknown reason, decided to start the car again. I mean, I guess I was amazed everything was okay and it looked like nothing happened at all, especially because I felt like I was falling apart inside. My reaction was completely disproportionate to the occurrence, it seemed to me, but that didn’t stop me from reacting so.

The car didn’t start. The engine didn’t turn over—not even a sound. Turning the key to the ‘start’ position did… nothing. I started to panic; I’d just killed the car.

Why did I even do that? I thought to myself angrily. It’s not like I want something to be wrong with the car. Maybe it really was too good to be true.

I went back inside, debating what to do. I looked at the clock; it was after 11 am by this time. Shortly, my sister came down dressed for work. Oh no, I remembered, today is her first day of training.

I explained the situation as briefly as I could manage. “Are you okay?” she asked.

“Physically, I’m fine,” I said. Then, everything started to rip at the seams in my mind. “It was scary.” I started to cry.

She came over to me and hugged me tight around the shoulders. “We’ll figure it out. As long as you’re okay, we’ll manage.” We headed out to inspect the damage together. She couldn’t see any scratches or dents—as I’d told her. We got in and she turned the key in the ignition; no response.

We went back inside. I called my dad. He was angry. Or rather, he was frustrated with the whole thing. (We’d just had the clutch replaced for almost more than the car was worth, for example, among other things.) This was just another worry on his plate.

“When you tried to turn on the car, did you hold down the clutch pedal?” he asked my sister. She couldn’t remember. “Check the lights,” he said. So, we went out and tried again.

“Are the lights on?” I asked.

“Oh.” She turned them to the ‘off’ position and said, “That might be it, actually. Did you have the lights on when you went down to school?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t mess with the lights,” I said.

My sister headed off to her training with more assurances that we’d figure it out when she (or Mom, or Dad) got home. Since she drove another car, obviously, I was left alone with the dead one.

Well, the day’s not over yet.

Fall 2010 and Yard Sale

More lost and found! I found this class schedule at Glendale College on Monday afternoon.

Fall 2010 @ gcc

It reads in purple ink:

[Fall 2010 @ gcc]

ethnic studies 132 (1314)
M & W (140 pm – 305 pm)
Administration 223

Health 106 (3251)
M & W (1045 am – 1210 pm)
Sierra Nevada Gym 101

Math 100 (2020)
M & W (910 am – 1015 am)
T & Th (910 am – 1000 am)
San Fernando 107

Sociology 104 (1788)
T & Th (1045 am – 1210 pm)
San Rafael 115

On my way home from classes that afternoon, I found this sign stapled to a telephone pole. It had no date (as you’ll see), but it was after 1 PM when I found it, so I decided to rip it down. When I noticed the back of the page, however, I was intrigued.

YARD SALE

The front is written in faded marker and reads:

YARD SALE
8a – 1pm
corner of Hilldale
+ Waltonia

THE GIFT TO KNOW

From the back, it’s clear that the page used to be (bright?) pink and has since mostly faded. The typeface looks like Times or Times New Roman to me. It says:

THE GIFT TO
KNOW

Anyone know what “the gift to know” means?

Saturday Afternoon Poetry

Saturday Afternoon Poetry

Pasadena Public Library, Santa Clarita Branch
Saturday Afternoon Poetry
26 June 2010, 3-5 PM

On Saturday, I attended an afternoon reading the Santa Clarita Branch of the Pasadena Public Library, located on East Washington Blvd. off Lake Ave. in Pasadena. I arrived a little bit late, but luckily they also started late, so I didn’t miss anything and didn’t even interrupt the introductions. The reading was given in a back room of the library, and if I hadn’t asked where to go, I wouldn’t have been able to find it because the door to the room looked like it was meant for librarians only (and perhaps it was, once). At the front of the room, there was a long folding table that had various collections and chapbooks from the featured readers for sale on it. Fours rows of six chairs each were set up facing the table, with the chairs split down the middle for an aisle. Though Poetry Flash only mentioned three featured readers, there were actually four.

It seemed like it was a group of regulars who all knew one another (and had heard some of the poets before) because there was little in the way of introductions. There was also an open mic, the readers of which signed up ahead of time and were interspersed between the featured readers. There were two open mic readers, who each read for five minutes or less, and then a featured reader, who read for around fifteen minutes. Then, two more open mic readers and a featured reader, and so on. I didn’t take many notes on the open mic readers since I wasn’t attending the reading for them, and they seemed to have less of a stage Poetbrokerpresence than the featured readers anyway. I don’t know if that’s because they [1] read fewer of their poems (as opposed to the featured readers), or [2] had less time to get going, or [3] rarely raised their heads from the page (so frustrating! It was like they were giving reports instead of reading poetry!), but there you go.

The first two open mic readers were Rich Lufta (I’m not sure of the spelling), who read three poems, and Rafael F.J. Alvarado, who read one. The first featured poet was introduced as “Poetbroker” (left) and he never gave his real name, so I guess an alias is just fine for him. He explained that he is a real estate broker who writes poetry about real estate and has therefore taken on his moniker. He didn’t give any titles to any of the poems he read, so I wrote down the first lines of each, including “When a poet was heard to say” and “Developers are tinkering with a tinsel town tool kit”. He was an engaging reader, but his choice of topics was completely uninteresting to me, so I found most of his poems to be, basically, forgettable.

Poetbroker had a tendency to explain each poem before he read it and interrupted himself at least once midway through a poem to explain something he didn’t think we understood. (Or maybe that interruption was part of the poem? It didn’t sound like it, but it’s possible.) One interesting one that he did name was “Ezra and Ezri”, which was named after Ezra Pound and Ezri Namvar, a man who is considered by many to be the West Coast’s Bernie Madoff. Lucia GallowayHis last poem, which began with “Terrence O’Connor was a kid that wasn’t afraid to make trouble”, was also memorable (to me) because he mentioned the Far Rockaway Local, which is part of the A Line that makes local stops in the New York City subway system. He has a chapbook published called Jaded Deco.

Following Poetbroker were two more open mic readers: Jerry Garcia (no, not the Jerry Garcia), who read two poems, and CaLokie, who read four poems, including a sonnet and a call-and-response, “Oklahoma Stomp Dance“. “Ghost Ships”, his third poem, had (a) good line(s): “Weeping Cherokee woman walking in front of Anglo-Saxon soldier on horse could have been my ancestor. The soldier, too.” The second featured reader was Lucia Galloway (right). She read seven poems from her collection, Venus and Other Losses. One interesting line from “Winter Tales” was “small rat he was to trail a tail so long”. The title poem, “Venus and Other Losses” was in seven parts, one part of which had the line(s): “Last night I dreamed my infant daughter had been thrown into a barrel and I, armless, could not save her.” It included poignant imagery of arms and hands and mentioned the Venus de Milo along with other references to ancient Greek mythology and architecture.

Galloway also read “The Comtesse d’Houssonville with Nature Morte”, about a painting of the same name. Another poem she read, “Jane Carlyle Laments”, is a persona poem in the voice of Thomas Carlyle’s wife. (Thomas Carlyle was a Scottish satirical writer, essayist, historian, and teacher who lived in the 19th Century.) “Instructions for the Lucialet” was an ars poetica for a made-up poetic form that the poet named after herself. Galloway’s last poem was interactive, with members from the audience reading parts of “Urban(e) Pianos”; Mikel WeisserI read the third and fourth stanzas, which were coupled together because of enjambment.

Two more open mic readers followed Galloway; Judith Terzi, first, read two poems, including an anagram sonnet. She has a collection out called The Road to Oxnard. Michelle Angelini went second and read three poems, including one called “A Metamorphic Weariness”, which alluded to The Wizard of Oz by mentioning Dorothy in a field of poppies. The third featured poet was Mikel Weisser (twitter) (left), whose most recent chapbook is Leaving the Empire. Like the last featured poet, he also read seven poems, including “Another ‘P’ Word” (a prose poem about plumbing at a friend’s house), “Reach” (a slam poem), “Here’s What You Do”, and “Careful, my hair is here to be dangerous”. Weisser had a very good stage presence and his work was more interesting than the first featured poet, Poetbroker.

In “For My Late Wife”, Weisser wrote about his wife’s six suicide attempts and her seventh success (if you could call it that): “Seven times we went down that road and the seventh time I came back alone.” Another poem about aging poets, especially one woman who had to drag her oxygen behind her when she stood up to give a reading, was called “The Good Grey Poets”. It had quite a few similes and ended with “a few more measured breaths, a few per minute, a few minutes more… or less”. His last poem, “Someday”, was about possibly coming across a Great Poem (so great that it can even cure cancer) written by someone completely unexceptional. It ended retrospectively: “and when that moment comes, I hope I don’t recoil. I pray I’m listening.”

The last two open mic readers were interesting for different reasons. The first of the two was Neva Wallace (on left in photo), who read two poems. The first was “The battle rampaged throughout the year”, a sonnet about man’s struggle against man that had a quirky twist ending. Her second poem, “Tribulations”, was much longer and more enthralling than most of the poems previously read by the other poets. Her two-poem reading made me wish that she was a featured poet instead of one of the other, lesser choices. (Actually, I think that she was a featured reader at Saturday Afternoon Poetry in April or May this year.) The other open mic reader was Don “Kingfisher” Campbell. He read three poems from two of his collections, Campbell’s Classics and Amongst the Detritus. He was interesting because he was also the afternoon’s emcee. Heather Derr-SmithHe had commented on various other poems all the way through and then he read, too. His last poem was printed out on a broadside for some inexplicable reason.

The last featured reader was Heather Derr-Smith (right), who flew in from Iowa (specifically for this reading? I’m not sure; she might be touring) and who has spent a lot of time in Damascus, the subject of her second collection, The Bride Minaret. “It’s about exile and identity in the Middle East,” she said. Derr-Smith was an engaging reader and is a poet with a few memorable lines, but by the time she got up to read, I was pretty much poetry-ed out for the day. The poem called “The Girl Named Tents” was the most impressive of the ones she read, about a girl born into a (refugee?) camp in the Middle East. One line about why she was named Tents says, “She was supposed be a boy, as all girls are.” Derr-Smith also read “Witchcraft in Twin Springs” about her brother heading out of the suburb where they grew up with their mother to meet up with some 30-ear-olds practicing magic in the woods. “The Pelican” was a story in poetic form that her father had told her after she was able to reconnect with him as an adult. (The last time she saw him before finding him again was when she was five. Shortly thereafter, he “went missing” and lived in Mexico for a long time.)

I still would’ve liked to have the poems in front of me while they were read so that [1] I’d know each poem’s title, various spellings, and line breaks, [2] I’d be able to follow along more easily and not get lost in what felt like buzzwords (especially in the case of Poetbroker), and [3] I’d have a flavor of each poet’s work on which to base my assumptions. It’s probably a completely different experience when an audience member is already a fan of a poet’s work and then decides to attend a reading where that poet is speaking. Presumably, that audience member would already know the work and possibly more about the life of the poet than I did today.