Today’s event at The Ruskin Art Club, a very fabulous old venue in the Wilshire neighborhood of LA, marked the end of the California leg of my Burn This House book tour. Red Hen Press put together a great group of readers, including the whip-smart, very funny David Hernandez and the lovely Brynn Saito, whom I learned also hails from the Fresno area. Go team Central Valley!
Reading first among that impressive gathering of poets was both a good thing in that I could get the nervous bits out of the way and enjoy everyone else, and a difficult thing in that I had to go first; I’d been hoping the other writers would set the tone and make it abundantly clear to me which poems I ought to read. I decided to split the baby (which, incidentally, is a metaphor/allusion I often use and which frequently distresses my students who may not know the Solomon reference) and start with some serious work and end with some lighter poems. I got some poetic “mmmm”-ing form the former and some laughs from the latter, so I call it a success!
As with a number of stops along the road, one of my favorite parts of this event was meeting the people who turned up. My in-laws attended (their first poetry reading!), as did friends from college and graduate school. I also had a great time getting to know the poetry lovers who came out just to hear new work being read; we in the poetry world need more great lovers of poetry, not just great writers of it.
After the reading, it was off to eat cupcakes with some dear friends in the neighborhood, and sugar-loaded as I now am, I’m going to have to find a way to fall asleep before a very early flight home in the morning. I’m looking forward to spending a bit of time at home with my own bed, with my cat, and with my work before I head out on the road again soon for the Press 53 poetry conference in Winston-Salem. I’ve had such a great time in California that it’s hard to see how the rest of the book tour could possibly stack up, but I’m ready for the next leg of this adventure. Or, I will be…after some sleep.