Wednesday, January 21, 2009

205: PBPF, Day 3

Reading: Anne Marie Macari. Her poems are quiet, natural wonders. I'm looking forward to reading her work. One of these days I will be clever and read the complete works of these poets ahead of time, but for now, I'll have to be satisfied with just reading the works of the workshop leader. Her own work has much similarity to my own interests in mine--the body, the natural world.

Reading: It was hard to pick a favorite of Thomas Lux reading, so feel free to wander on over to Flickr and check out the others in this year's festival set; he is truly a wonder to watch and listen to and reminds me much of a Jim Hensen creation. He told a story of his twenty one year old daughter skydiving, and I wondered what it might have been like to have Thomas Lux as a father. He came up to talk about how it's nice to have all of us kindred spirits together, and how he's known Gregory Orr "since we were baby poets, and now we're old, decrepit poets." Later, when I had his early works signed he said, "Oh, so you're going to read my baby poems. You know, they're not very good."

I think his work begs to be heard from him--maybe there are three categories of poets (no, more than that, obviously, but for what I'm saying here, let's make it three): the spoken word sort whose work belongs on the stage (almost exclusively), the academic poet whose work is best on the page, and that sort of in-between, the poet who won't appear at poetry slams, but whose poetry lives so much better in the open air, in the narrative out-loudness of the poet. That last is what I believe Thomas Lux to be. I probably wouldn't go on about him if I were telling you about my experience of reading him on the page, but he has been known to say things along the lines of wanting domesticated animals to understand his poems--he is not interested in tangled, high-fallutin' poems, and I hear when you are in workshop with him, he is one of the folks that will do the closest reading, making sure each syllable counts, and though it might take a great long while, your poem will have gone through the wringer (and, you hope, is better for it).

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