Marcus Colasurdo and I had the pleasure of reading on June 23
in Crisfield, Maryland, Maryland’s southern most town on the Chesapeake
Bay. There used to be a lot of crabbing, and even farther
back for hundreds of years, a lot of sailing back and forth among the
surrounding islands, northern Virginia, and the estuaries of this low
marsh land. It was a real pleasure to read there.
We read a mix from our recent PM Press book, Heart X-Rays, as well as nature poetry more suitable and familiar to this smaller town locale. Of course like everywhere else, television and the Internet reach this peninsula. Still, Crisfield’s Main Street is a few square blocks. The audience was less used to a literary presentation, it seemed, yet more digging what they did not expect. Hungrier for it. It reminds me of the saying, from American poet William Carlos Williams:
It is difficult to get the news from poems
But men die miserably every day
From lack of what is found there.
Our reading was not so dramatic. Rather, it was intimate and communicative. There is something of the “news” in poetry, as Williams put it, vacant from the newspaper.
The following day, we stopped by an open mike at a local café, the café being also new to Crisfield. It was the first open mike of an envisioned series, the host said. I’m so glad we shared in that too. Communication, listening, community, expanding boundaries. . . .
Poetry has its roots in song; in Western culture that goes back to the Homeric chanted poetry of Ancient Greece and the dramatic choral poetry of those famous Ancient Greek tragedies. What makes poetry different from today’s songsters? I can’t say I plan to answer that question, but, poetry must escape paraphrase. This being said, I’ve been playing with song-like poetry, see below:
Not a game
To turn life
Can you go
With the flow
With the heart
Here I am
Just a man
But a man
Hear me Roar
lights the mirror
of the day
Withstand the replay
from the vision
in the kitchen
as you listen—
In the frost
Here’s a coat—
I hear now—
Well, that’s it so far. In gratitude.