Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Blog of Thank You (Gracias Ergo Sum)

This blog hasn't been a vehicle for much. I never used it to prove much more than I appear to exist, and never gave much to qualify that. There was very little poetry, by myself or anyone, published on this blog. I don't know if I ever had specific intentions for it. Every so often, I felt like saying thank you. Most of the entries going back are thank yous, often to poets and artists I've never met. But also thank you to performers, poets, and friends, and to performances themselves, a few of them performances I participated in. While I know I exist (I have first-hand evidence), if, as is conceptually possible, this blog connects me to people to whom I have never met, then I give them inference of my existence, second-order confirmation. And that inferential confirmation is often in the form of a thank you.

But it's been a while since I've given a thank you through this blog, far too long. I have a lot to be thankful for. I'm not going to list it all. I got to spend last week with a number of people that I very rarely spend any time with, or less- that is to say I met a lot of great folks last week and had a lot of great experiences.

So I want to say thank you to Kyle Schlesinger for driving nine-hundred and ninety-five miles with me, from Lawrence, Kansas to Oklahoma City and Norman, Oklahoma, and to Fayetteville, Arkansas. I'd like to thank Kyle for reading from The Do How with me on the four occasions that we did. It was a real pleasure, and somehow I think those readings add something to the work itself. Our collaboration now exists in an additional dimension, or two.

I would like to express gratitude to the poetry (and extended) community of Lawrence that welcomed me: Jim McCrary, Megan Kaminski, Sue Ashline, Nick Smith, Joe Harrington, and all the poets and audience who attended our reading. Not to forget our reading companion Siobhán Scarry. I was so impressed by the energy of Lawrence and the ability of the organizers there to work without enforcing the poet-political boundaries that seem to structure communities so often.

Thank you to the poets and poetry enthusiasts of Norman, Oklahoma and Norman North High School. Professor Crag Hill gave Kyle and I the initial impetus of taking our tour of the Midwest through the Southern Plains to Mid-Southern United States. Crag was also, with Laurie Schneider and Noemi, our host. His generosity fits in pretty well with the generosity and enthusiasm we met giving two creative workshops on collaboration at Norman North High School. The kids blew my mind with their energy and insight into writing, poetry, collaboration, and poetry communities. Professor Jonathan Stalling was an amazing force to encounter as well. Any serious poet would do well to check out the Mark Allen Everett poetry series Crag and Jonathan co-host, for the audience they might bring as well as the conversation that will follow. Thank you Scott Pierce and Kathleen for coming to the reading and the day meandering Oklahoma City. Come to Portland.

After all that, the reading in Fayetteville could have not turned out and I would still have felt the romp around the country was a success. Not so: Fayetteville offered us something near a full house, an energetic audience, and a half-dozen gracious hosts. Thank you to the operators of Back Space (thank you), the lovely Matt Henriksen and Adele (thank you), and C. Violet Eaton and Sara Nicholson, both of whom read with us and allowed Kyle and I to stay with them our last night away from home (thank you and thank you and thank you and thank you, each particular and essential).

You help me realize who I am. Thanks again!