The Hobo Code Poetry reading was enormously fun. I'm running out of time this morning, so today I'll post a simple write up, and tomorrow, I'll write a more meditative post with pictures.
I had never been to Studio 18 in the Pines, but I knew it was a gallery. I was expecting a gallery/gift shop in a strip mall, the kind of place where you can pick up a card for your grandmother, a Yankee Candle, and a tasteful watercolor picture of a beach scene or maybe a lightcatcher ornament kind of thing.
Boy, was I wrong!
As we made our way through to the site, we drove past a sign that said "State Hospital." What kind of hospital? The state still funds hospitals? We thought it might be the VA Hospital, which I knew was in the vicinity but I'd never seen before.
We circled around the grounds which had more resemblance to a military base than anything else: squat buildings built of cinderblock, covered in paint in that color of yellow that you can buy in bulk at a very cheap price. Buildings in rows that looked like dorms or cellblocks. I said, "What kind of gallery is this?" We drove past huge propane tanks, taller than me. I could not figure out where we were headed. We had seen a sign but couldn't figure out how to get there.
Finally, we wound our way to the entrance. When we walked in, it was clear that we were in a space for working artists--18 spaces to be exact, and lots of wall space for shows.
One of the walls was dedicated to our poems, sheet after sheet of poems. How cool! The walls were surrounded by tables with artifacts from real hobos.
We walked around the gallery admiring the art. One of the artists with a photography studio took our pictures. We could have had delicious food, if we hadn't already eaten. I admired the hobo costumes sported by so many of us--even the photographer's assistant got into the spirit!
And then, the reading: about 18 of us read. I was surprised by the variety of the types of poems: limericks, thoughtful meditations on the meaning of home and warm meals, Hansel and Gretel as seen through the lessons of hobohood, light-hearted salutes to life on the rails. Very intriguing.
After that, we mingled a bit more. There was a spirit of camaraderie. We had plenty of food to eat. We went back to read the poems that were posted on the wall. Some of them are so different on the page.
In short, it was a wonderful night. Tomorrow I'll write a post on some of the elements that made it wonderful in ways different from other readings.
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