|Photo with my fellow Part One readers. That's Ann Fogelman in front and from left to right: Chris Wise, Jeremyah Payne, Terry Jude Miller, and myself.|
This post is going up a day later than I intended, but I was pretty much useless yesterday. My trip to Webster, Texas, and back over the weekend was as much a physical endurance test as poetry event. During a 48-hour period (from when I hit the road at 6:30 a.m. on Friday to when I made it back home at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday), I was behind the wheel for roughly 28 hours.
But it was totally worth it.
I enjoyed my short time in Webster. From my perspective, it's one big mall area, though I'm sure that's not the whole story. It's a hop, skip and a jump to Galveston and right next to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
On Friday evening, I enjoyed my first ever Whataburger meal. I saw these scattered all over the place on my way to Austin last year. So I tried one out, and I can safely assert that it's better than McDonald's and Burger King. I know that's setting the bar low, but it is still fast food.
On Saturday morning, I practiced my poetry set a few times until I was happy with it. Then, I hit the road without any particular destination in mind. My main goal was to distract myself from thinking too much about reading, because I can still get nervous like anyone.
Following some signs for the Armand Bayou Nature Center, I ended up at the Bay Area Park that appears to be part of it (according to Google Maps). Since the nature center cost money (and my time was very limited), I just wandered around the free park, which also has a dog park component. If I ever make it back out there, I'd love to spend a few hours wandering the nature center.
Poetry "Out of Bounds" Reading
This event is kind of like an appetizer for the actual Houston Poetry Fest, which runs next weekend (Oct. 7-9). It was held at the Webster Barnes & Noble location--across the street from an empty Borders store--and involved five sections that were organized with a guest poet, two spotlight poets, and two scheduled open mic poets. There were a total of 24 poets scheduled to read and an open mic round robin (for any and every body) after the scheduled reading was completed.
I enjoyed all of the poets, but some highlights included listening to Terry Jude Miller, Stan Crawford, Larry Fontenot, John Gorman (who had a very funny Writer's Digest poem), Laura Pena, and Juan Manuel Perez (who had some great food-related and political poems). Plus, I met a former member of the Georgia Poetry Society: Jean D. Mahavier.
|Picture of me with Poetic Asides reader and poet Laurie Kolp.|
Speaking of meeting people, Poetic Asides reader and poet Laurie Kolp drove all the way over from Beaumont, Texas (like 2+ hours away) to watch me read. That was really a highlight of the whole event, and I'm happy to report that I was present for her first public reading--as she participated in the open mic round robin (as the first poet, no less).
As far as my own reading, I tried to mix it up with some new and familiar poems. Here's the set list:
- Solving the world's problems
- At the arboretum
- A small tear in the pillow
- the silence between us
- anywhere we dare go
- this is modern living
The other seven poems I read can be found in my chapbooks ENTER and ESCAPE. As readers of this blog probably know, ENTER is sold out, but I do still have a few copies of ESCAPE available. (Click here to learn how to get your hands on a signed copy of ESCAPE.) As usual, I worked in poems about my dad, my kids, and my awesome wife.
|Here I am reading at the Webster B&N.|
This event was special for me as a result of two firsts:
- First reading in a bookstore. I've spoken at bookstores in the past, but as the editor of Writer's Market and Poet's Market. I've read poems before in about every type of venue except a bookstore. So it was cool to read poems in a bookstore--while they still exist.
- First recitation of a poem. When I finished "the silence between us," I let everyone know that I'd just performed my first poem without looking at the page. It's something I'd been practicing for more than a month, and it's even cooler than finally reading in a bookstore.
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