Friday, May 21, 2010

Poet Sandra Beasley Reads Tonight at Books and Books, Miami

The poet Sandra Beasley will read tonight at Books and Books in Miami. Her reading starts at 8. I saw her in a different venue last night, and those of us who make it to the reading tonight are in for a treat.

Last night she was part of a LegalArts presentation at the Rubell Family Collection. The evening began with a presentation by a real, live literary agent. She encouraged people to stop her if they had questions, and boy, did they have questions. They seemed like very basic questions to me, but I remind myself that I'm the type of person who researches everything thoroughly, and not everyone is like that.

I was intrigued by how many of the young people in the room seemed convinced that they were going to be the next big thing. Ah, youth. I don't remember ever having that kind of self confidence, but then again, working on a Ph.D. isn't a confidence building endeavor, at least not until you're finished.

Of course, if these people haven't done the basic research about what an agent can do for you, they probably don't realize how many people are out there who also think they've got the next novel that will take the world by storm. They probably don't understand the world of troubles affecting the publishing world. They probably don't understand how hard it is to do all the work a publisher does (marketing, promoting, filling orders) if one chooses to self-publish.

One very young woman in the audience was thrilled to know that she might be able to finagle a book contract, even if she hasn't written the book. I leaned over to my friend and whispered, "But once you've got a contract, you've still got to write the book." And you've got to do the hard work of revision to make the book match what the contract says you'll deliver.

Finally, the poet Sandra Beasley took the stage. She had a marvelous presentation about her decision to devote herself to writing as a career, and she had great tips about how to become more diversified as a writer. Those tips will have to wait for tomorrow's post, since I left my notebook out in my car, and soon I must head to spin class and then work.

Her talk last night would have convinced me to make the trek back down to Miami, if I hadn't already been committed to going. She read one poem, "Vocation," and she did it remarkably. I'm not always impressed with the performance skills of poets, but Sandra Beasley is one of the best of all the poets I've seen so far.

What a treat to look forward to! I'm headed to Books and Books early with my friends. We'll eat dinner in the beautiful courtyard, even though it's a bit more hot and humid than I'd like. I plan to buy some books, including Sandra Beasley's new book. And then, a wonderful poetry reading. When I was stuck in the hinterlands, I dreamed of evenings like the one I plan to have tonight! Good friends, good food, satisfying art--it doesn't get much better than that for me.

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