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Roses and Violets Come in Many Colors

February 7, 2020

Attended, last night, the twice-monthly poetry reading at the Natsoulas Gallery. Listened to Julia Levine:

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And Susan Browne:

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(And yes, I’ve figured out what to do with photos that are low-resolution and otherwise sorta terrible: use a Prisma filter to turn it into something artsy fartsy…. something I can get away with when photographing a poetry reading in an art gallery. And special bonus, it was a dog art exhibit.)

Both poets were just great. I found the readings inspiring. Partly because it made me feel like writing poetry is something I could do.  I enjoy writing, I am observant, I love to describe things in detail, I think about life a lot … just like everybody!  

I realize it’s ignorant to think poetry is easy to do, just like we think abstract art is child’s play. Who hasn’t thought they could paint a canvass red, add some black paint splatters and call it art.

Julia and Susan made poetry look natural, like it just flowed from their observant eyes or day-to-day experiences to paper. They wrote of love, life, death, masturbation.. all the normal stuff, stuff we all think about. To me, it sounds like a perfect thing to do. It’s obvious Julia and Susan are professionals– they have dozens of books and awards between them–but/and I’m still inspired and think it’d be fascinating and fun to try my hand at some poetry.

Jim and I attended the same event a couple months ago and heard Gary Snyder. I struggled to fully grasp (or even partially grasp) his poems.. and he’s a Pulitzer Prize winning poet! Still, I was inspired and ended up buying four books of poetry the next day.  Reading poems is easier, as you can study them at your own pace. Snyder’s seemed less story telling, less prosy than what I heard last night. However a poet might characterize that. His seem more like what I have traditionally thought of as poetry — one line here, a word there, lots of indentations, much symbolism. I’ve found those take a lot of work, and definitely struggle to follow when read. The poems read last night were far easier to absorb and relate to. Readily accessible.

Katy’s son Jack, when he visited Davis last week, told us about a writing class he is taking: Whiskey and Writing, or something close to that. And, in fact, they do consume whiskey as part of the writing process in order to remove barriers and free the imagination. Truly, I can’t imagine a funner exercise.

Check out poetryindavis.com for info on the poetry readings in town.

 

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