Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Poetry Readings

In the best tradition of my undergraduate journalism training, let me put the most important information first.  If you're in South Florida, please come to my reading tonight at the Sol Children's Theatre in Boca Raton (3333 Federal Highway, which is also Highway 1).  I'll be sharing the stage with 2 other poets, and we'll start at 7:30.  This reading will be the first time I'll be reading extensively from my new chapbook.  We'll be selling and signing books afterwards.

Since we're close to Halloween, we've chosen some poems with Halloween themes, and we'll do a round robin kind of reading at the end.  I have in mind that we'll each read a poem that has something to do with enchantment, then we'll each do a poem that deals with witches, then we'll each read a poem that has to do with wolves or other monsters.  Of course, my fellow poets may have a different idea.  For my 8-10 minutes of poetry reading before the round robin, I'm going to focus on the tricks and treats of the modern workplace.

I told one of my colleagues that our reading will be particularly kid friendly, especially since it's at a children's theatre space.  Of course, it would be neat if every poetry reading was kid friendly.  We need to grow the next generation of poetry lovers.

Jeannine Hall Gailey wrote a great post about that topic here.  She talks about going to the Seattle Symphony when they had a sci-fi event, and she wonders if poets shouldn't be planning readings in a similar way.

Long ago, we received "Be a Tourist in Your Home Town" tickets for a Christmas present.  We spent a chilly January exploring Charleston, South Carolina.  We went to a Sunday afternoon Symphony concert that was billed as family friendly.  The conductor talked to the children in the audience to explain what the orchestra was about to do and what to listen for.  I'm sure I wasn't the only adult in the venue who left feeling enriched beyond measure.

I like the idea of holiday themed readings, although I realize the danger of hokiness.  My fellow poets with whom I've been reading this year are Hindu and Jewish.  I'm still hoping to pull together a reading where we read poems about our special holidays.  Where are the intersections?  What do the differences tell us?

In a similar vein, go here to read a great teaching idea from Donna Vorreyer.  She got the idea when she read Dave Bonta's poem about ghosts here.  I had a wonderful experience this morning as several strands came together and wove themselves into a poem.

Last week, I attended the Employee Engagement Committee.  We're the group that plans events in the hopes of keeping up morale.  In a twist that's either very cruel or full of black humor (and irony?), most of the committee has just been informed that they will be losing their jobs in the November RIF.

So, last week, there we were, trying to plan the Halloween events, and laughing to keep from crying.  We talked about costumes, and I suggested that the HR people come dressed as the ghosts that will haunt us as we sit waiting for a response from the 1-800 HR number.

This morning, I started thinking about all the other Halloween metaphors that fit a RIF work environment so perfectly.  Here's a stanza:

We agree that we can't afford pumpkins
in this era of downsizing.
Too many programs gutted--
why mangle these poor gourds?

I think I'll read the poem tonight.  We start at 7:30--it would be great to see you there, but since I know that many of my readers live far away, I'll take pictures and write up a retrospective this week-end.  Maybe I'll even experiment with recording, although I haven't had much luck yet.


Sandy Longhorn said...

Good luck with the reading. Wish I could be there.

The news of the job cuts is chilling. So sad.

Kristin said...

If you were here, Sandy, we'd invite you to read some of your fairy tale poems with us.

Some day . . . I hope!

Jeannine said...

Good luck tonight, and thanks for the shout-out! Tomorrow, I'm doing a multi-media outreach - visual art and poetry - we'll see how it goes!

Kathleen said...

Oh, have a good reading! Will "Big Bad Wolves" make an appearance?

So sorry about your RIF pals. Sigh...