I need a new camera, I know. The one I currently use came from a gumball machine. It has a mind of its own and erased the contents of my last trip to New York. Still, I like to take photos of poets reading and I use what’s at hand. What am I looking for? Documentation? A little psychic imprint? A momento? A moment of frozen intensity? All of the above?
CD Wright was in Montreal last week and I had the pleasure of hearing her read. It was my first time. The poetry expanded out around me as if I had left the building and now was in an entirely new place. Of field and fallow calla lilies and folds of hands and ankles. I’ll be honest with you, I wanted more. The poems were at once light and heavy. The work of the poet to patiently unfold. Now when I look at the poems they are more three dimensional. The gaps have texture there. Can you see it in the stillness surrounding the podium above?
As if the scenery in her head had stopped revolving
his watch if she dodged the picture it is obvious his sweater was wet
his watch cap soppinghis watch cap soppinghis watch cap sopping
As if the bone could not be pointed at the atrocious
The questions after were so odd. Strangely worded, not very respectful. “What is the opposite of poetry?” Was the first one. Something else about “do you intend to be so monotonous?” I don’t think they were intentionally disrespectful, just not very mindfully worded, with a sense of the event, the space, the mood created by Wright’s quiet and intense reading. I wonder if people think about what they are going to ask poets? I wonder if they try their questions out before they punctuate the evening with their thoughts? Some people seem to take the urgency of their own inner dialogs with them, as if the inside of their room/mind expanded to over-take other public spaces rather than reorienting onself into the space created–in this case so graciously by Wright.