Poetry reading, I’ve found, is very personal. You’re nervous about your poem, whether it’s good or not. Your legs are shaking and your fingers tremble, but you let go all of this just to make sure you control your voice and keep it strong. I tried to keep my voice strong. I tried to give justice to what I’d written, and tried to match the voice I’d used in my head while I was writing it, such a long time ago, to the voice I used at that moment, in front of that small, intimate crowd of people.
I stared down at my notebook the whole time. I wasn’t too nervous, I think.
It was a small crowd that Saturday night. Not more than 30 people. It was a small affair of avid listeners with quite voices and wide open ears. I get distracted by people’s faces while they speak, so as I listened to them, I would always look down at the ground. The voice and the words, that’s all you need, really.
There weren’t more than ten people willing to share their poetry. The reading component was short-lived, but exciting, because just that small taste of it made me feel inspired to write poetry again. I haven’t written any poetry for a long time. I always say it’s because I’m happy, but that’s just an excuse. It’s because poetry writing is hard for me. To condense concepts into such few words, to share emotion with such few images, to be expressive, and yet spare, is not a talent of mine. I know, of course, that there are such things as long poems, but my preference has always been short ones, and those are the ones I do try to write. I don’t succeed though. The long and lengthy is my default setting, it seems.
That night seemed suffused with such talent and potential. And we made such plans, both simple and grandiose. I do hope we push through with them. It would be such a waste if we didn’t. In my city, we have no writerly activities. We have ones for painters, filmmakers, graffiti artists, skateboarders, etc…but none for writers. It’s time we started a community. Planning is wonderful, but the time to start is always now.