On May 13th I participated in my first public, professional reading. As I mentioned here, the purpose of the reading was to promote Luminous Echoes, the anthology of runners-up in Into the Void Magazine‘s 2016 poetry competition, with proceeds from the anthology benefitting Pieta House, an Irish charity dedicated to preventing suicide and self harm.
I decided to go because I had won the opportunity, many of the authors in the volume are distinguished poets, and I could combine the occasion with seeing family and friends. The reading was very well planned and run by Tom Daley, one of the poets in the volume. We sold out of Luminous Echoes and raised $940 for Pieta House.
I was somewhat embarrassed because I had the idea we were going to read from Luminous Echoes, but actually, of course, we were supposed to read our work, of which I have little, and tout our books, of which I have none. Discovering this recalled my violin anxiety dreams–“Here, go out in your underwear and play this concerto you’ve never seen before.”
Also, we were reading in alphabetical order. I was last.
So while my talented, practiced fellows were masterfully reading, I was feeling like an idiotic bumpkin, and I’m sorry to say I was too nervous to properly appreciate their work. In the end, it was OK, though: I read the first poem I ever published, which you can read and listen to here, my poem from Luminous Echoes, which I wrote about here, another poem from that volume, and the winner of the most recent Gemini Magazine poetry contest, because I am Associate Editor there, and I helped select that poem, which you can read here.
I was able to buy books by several of the poets to help make up for my inattentive listening, and I am honored to have participated in this event with them and made their acquaintance. I am thankful to Tom Daley for organizing, Heath Brougher, the judge of the contest, for conceiving of the volume, editing it and participating in the reading, Philip Elliott, the editor of Into the Void, for his support of the project, and the five Boston-area friends who came out and supported me. Next time I will try to have a book to hawk.