Sunday, January 21, 2007

At 21, I attended my first literary reading: Galway Kinnell at the Laguna Beach Public Library. I had graduated from college that June; it was August; I’d be moving to San Francisco that November. I don’t remember how I knew Kinnell was reading at the library. Orange County, California is not the most obvious place for a New York, Contemporary American poet to give a reading from his latest slim volumes of poems published by Knopf. Maybe Kinnell has a cousin in Laguna Beach, or an old lover.

If there is anywhere for lovers, it’s Laguna Beach, California, one of the most picturesque places in the world, as gorgeous – if not more so – than any coastal Italian city. However, Orange County’s milieu (if you can call it that) differs dramatically from Italy’s. In Italy, for example, a person can buy a great loaf of fresh, warm bread at nearly every corner. In Orange County, sure you can get a good loaf of bread, but you might have to drive from one end of the county to the other to find it.

Kinnell read to a small audience, and I was mesmerized by his voice, his cadences, his use of words and the way he put them together. I went to the reading alone, wrapped in one of my great, great, great, great grandmother’s Spanish shawls, an orange one embroidered with flowers -- pink, peach, lavender, yellow and green. The scarf is over 100 years old, so the colors are muted, the silk thin. And it’s huge, probably 5’x5’ in measurement. There are long, heavy silk fringes that hang down from the scarves' edges. With it wrapped around me, I felt braver than normal, so after the reading I approached Mr. Kinnell and told him I liked his poems. After I said it, I felt faint. He asked me if I was a poet. I said yes because I knew I was a poet, but rather than feeling proud about this, I felt embarrassed.

When I applied to graduate school a couple years later, I was accepted with fellowships at two places, Houston and NYU. Sharon Olds from NYU called me and said, “Galway really likes your poetry a lot. We hope you’ll come here. Where else have you applied?” I said, “Houston is flying me down next week.” I said, “I need money.” She said, “If you need money, then we can’t compete with Houston.” And that was true. So here I am.

Speaking of that: I’m reading at Poison Girl this coming Thursday, Jan. 25. Reading starts at 8:30. Poison Girl is a smoky bar. Be warned. I’m not sure what I’ll be reading, whether poetry or prose. Probably a little of both.


Anonymous said...

My great aunt, Ruthie Peterson, lived in Laguna Hills for 65 years with her life partner, Thelma. They owned land, were in business together, owned a secretarial service, and a ceramics company. We still have a set of beautiful, almost life-sized ceramic chickens from their company.

Your story from the other day of the man passing in the street reminds me of "What Kiss."

Yellow Blade said...

Chúng tôi chuyên nhận order hàng mỹ uy tín hiện nay. Ngoài ra chúng tôi còn hổ trợ mua hàng ở trên các của Mỹ như mua hàng tại amazon. Khi sử dụng dịch vụ này bạn sẽ cảm thấy như có amazon vietnam vậy. Nếu bạn không biết cách mua hàng trên amazon thì chúng tôi sẽ giúp bạn mua giúp hàng trên amazon. Ngoài ra bạn có thể mua hàng trên ebay mỹ dễ dàng như có ebay vietnam. Ngoài các dịch vụ chuyển hàng từ Mỹ về Việt Nam của giao nhận 247. Chúng tôi còn nhận gửi hàng đi mỹ giá rẻ. Nếu có nhu cầu về hàng Mỹ hãy liên hệ với chúng tôi nhé.

chuyenphatnhanhquocte said...

Kinh nghiệm mua hàng trên amazon
Hướng dẫn mua hàng trên Amazon
Cách mua hàng trên amazon Mỹ
Làm sao để mua hàng trên amazon
Cách mua hàng trên amazon ship về VN
Cách mua hàng trên amazon về việt nam 2016
chuyển nhà trọn gói phan nguyễn express
dịch vụ chuyển nhà trọn gói hồ chí minh
Dịch vụ chuyển nhà trọn gói hồ chí minh
chuyển văn phòng trọn gói hồ chí minh