Well, officially the reading was hosted at and by the Oakland University Writing Center and John Freeman, but that’s so much text to jam into a title. Either way, it was an entertaining and educational event for me. As a Marick Press intern, I’m far more confident in my tweeting and blogging skills than talking mechanics and structure with well-respected poets, but the event turned out to have a very casual and fun atmosphere.
I arrived about an hour early to get a feel for the place. Remember, I hadn’t been to a poetry reading in about a decade. I talked with some of the Writing Center employees for a bit about where they were setting up and such. I started to think I had arrived a little too early, but people started to trickle in and chat. Before I knew it, tables were moved, the audience was seated, and the poets were reading.
The first reader was Meghan Phelps, an Oakland University student and Writing Center consultant. She chose to read a non-fiction piece, Uncy, a frank tale about how a family copes with a death in the family. Through dialogue, Meghan’s uncle, although not alive for most of the piece, spoke to us from beyond, and the account of the aftermath of his passing reminded me that all families adjust to the passing of a loved one in their own way.
Edward Morin was the second reader. His work ranged from talking at length about how we interpret color to speaking on old colleagues to poems about birds and nature. His descriptions of color were precise and well articulated. He gave only short intros before each piece, and seemed humbled by the applause that followed each break.
The last speaker, Michael Lauchlan, was more conversational. He talked about the relationship between editors and poets, and solicited questions from the audience. Michael’s poetry captured the essence of his subjects through simple yet eloquent description. He read a poem about a single car accident that was particularly easy for me identify with. The well articulated motions of vainly trying to regain control of a vehicle in poor conditions spoke to me clearly about my many mishaps on the road.
After the readers, there was a short Q&A session. As a writer but not a poet, the session was surprisingly easy to relate to my own work. In particular there was a discussion about revisions, and how often it can be hard to revisit a paper because once you’ve written something down and waited, you are no longer the same person as when you created it. From some angles, to come back and change things would be a disservice to who you once were, and to the piece itself, as it is a snapshot frozen in time. The discussion eventually yielded the idea that one must divorce oneself from the emotion of the piece, and that if revisions would make the piece better, they should be done regardless of emotional connections.
I was so busy taking pictures and video that the event ended suddenly. People were shaking hands, breaking off into smaller groups to talk or brave the cold. I took a shot of the three readers, packed up, and left
Due to the success of this event, Marick Press and the OU Writing Center are partnering up to create the 2014 Poetry Reading Series. Readings will take place in the OU Writing Center on the last Thursday of every month at 6:30 pm. All are welcome to attend, so be sure to add our Google+ page to your circles to stay abreast of all of Marick Press’ activities. Give it a +1 while you’re there too, just for good measure. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel to access all our video content, including replays of our readings.
Until next time,