Attending Poetry Readings

I hope everyone’s having a good Wednesday!  This post is going to be a sort of continuation of Katie’s last post, and my comment from that post.

Being honest, I thought I was not the type of person who enjoyed attending readings–I didn’t know what to expect and I thought they would be awkward and stuffy.  I’m the type of person who likes to stay in my bed and eat an entire box of Oreos.  But since joining the creative writing scene here at Geneseo I’ve realized how important it is to push ourselves and do things we might not normally think we’d enjoy.

Since becoming a part of this writing community I’ve attended several a lot more readings than I ever expected.  I’ve attended ones the school has provided, as well as several in Rochester.  The most recent reading I attended was last Sunday for the BOA’s 17th Annual “Dine & Rhyme” event featuring Jillian Weise.  Going into the reading, and as is the case for most readings I go to, I didn’t know the poet.  In my last post I said readings are exciting because you never know what you might learn that you’re not expecting.  This reading was no exception.

Right off the bat, I was blown away by Weise’s humor.  She was self-depreciating and serious about not taking her poetry too seriously.  Humor is not something I ever include in my poetry, and yet for Weise it seemed natural.  I found the same to be true of the narrative quality to her poetry, and the casual pop culture/technology references like Skype calls and Bruce Springsteen.

Weise is a charismatic and funny speaker, and I found myself laughing more than I expected I would at a poetry reading, as she made her way through poems I was unfamiliar with, but ended up enjoying immensely.  That’s the beauty of poetry readings for me–they always feel like celebrations of poetry I end up admiring and learning from.

Weise’s poetry is funny, exciting, and rich.  If this has piqued anyone’s interest check out her collection The Book of Goodbyes.  If you missed the reading here’s a video of Weise reading three poems featured in her collection The Book of Goodbyes. Skip to 4:15 in the video and enjoy:

So to sum this up: go out there and attend readings.  As writers we need to constantly push ourselves and get out of our comfort zones.  That varies from person to person, but Geneseo always has opportunities to listen to writers read and talk about their work.  Don’t forget to put yourself out there, ask questions, and keep an open mind–and at the end of the day you can go home and reward yourself with a box of Oreos.

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