Our Community Arts Council reading series kicked off its new season with an evening of short readings by four local authors.
When I introduced Vaughan Chapman, I teased her a bit, as she almost always wins the door prize at these events -- thus, she 'won the prize' and got to read first (and wasn't allowed to enter the draw). The poems she read were memory-based, placed in the context of family. Geographically, the poems were very much of the prairies. One of the images I loved was from her 'Pea Poem' -- "...fruit hard as teeth coming through."
Vaughan was followed by Virginia Gillespie, who read poems based in the Four Corners area of the U.S. (the juncture of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah). She transported us, not only with her words, but with her lovely and clear singing voice. She also supplied me with a line I'd like to adopt as my new mantra, "Free me from this erratic pace." Oh, yes!
Following these two poets, we switched gears and moved on to Ian Lauder who read from his post-Arthurian novel, Elfindale. The book follows Lauder's take on the apprenticeship of Morgan LeFay to Merlin. Lauder extolled us to reach for a state he calls 'lightness of being' and suggested that to attain it we "...develop our androgynous psyche."
The evening closed with Cristy Watson, who usually serves as bookseller at our series, reading poems old and new. One of the chapbooks she read from, DNA, was fresh off the presses that afternoon! Watson, a survivor of breast cancer, has a series of no-nonsense poems about her experience. Most enthralling (to me, at least) was a piece about Icarus, only with the focus on his flight instead of his crash. "Who wouldn't seek to climb the moon?"
Watson's poem goes on with the line, "The sheer magnitude of futures sprawled before him..." and so, I suspect, does the future for these writers.