Friday, February 12, 2010

A Roux, A Reduction, The Essence (if you will)

A great event last night at Gary's Wine & Marketplace in Wayne. Maria Gillan and Laura Boss were featured, introduced by Jim Gwyn in an event organized partly by Jim and Emily Rose of Lips Magazine. Maria and Laura are simply great, entertaining poets who radiate joy for the art, and they attracted a great crowd of poets and fans of poetry. Oh, and the four wines Gary's staff were pouring next to the yard-wide cheese plate didn't chase anyone away, either.

The open was a good ride. A long list of good local writers presented (Jim Gwyn, Jessica DeKoninck, Betty Marchitti, Norma Bernstock, Catherine Magia, and I'm sure I'm forgetting several) along with at least one first-time-ever reader, a member of the store staff with a great set of pipes who I hope enjoyed his experience enough to try his chances again at the next poetry event at Gary's (hint, hint).

After the event, Tony Puma of the WCWilliams Poetry Cooperative (which has graciously rescheduled my snowed-out reading with Diane Lockward for next Wednesday...) commented on the short poem I presented that it was "tight", that it seemed to contain what it needed to and no more. High praise, indeed; I don't know what I could have heard that I'd have taken as a better compliment. That got me thinking about how I sorted out my portfolio last year, removing a substantial fraction of works I thought qualified as "done", but that were somehow not up to the level of my other work. While it breaks down fairly chronologically (the older work is the weaker work - not unexpected), the real difference is the "tightness", the absence of unnecessary words. When I've received the gift of feedback on my work in the past year, that's one of the themes that's been consistent in that feedback, and that's what drove me to sort and select the poems that I'll be including in the chapbook.

And there's another element to what got included which actually cause me to sort out at least one piece that I think is stronger than most of the poems I left in. Which links me to this week's other learning.

But I'll save that for next time....

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