West End Poetry Festival 2012

The 2012 West End Poetry Festival was a complete and rousing success. Alan Shapiro, our headlining poet, got nominated for a National Book Award (probably because they heard he was at our festival). Dorianne Laux, Joe Millar, Rachel Richardson, Stephanie Levin, and Florence Nash read at Flyleaf Books on Friday night. A thousand thanks go out to Jamie Fiocco for her tremendous assistance (please support Flyleaf Books).

On Saturday we heard from:

  • Jo Taylor
  • Andrea Selch
  • Rob Greene
  • Joe Millar
  • Dorianne Laux
  • Lou Lipsitz
  • Jaki Shelton Green
  • Alan Shapiro
  • Celisa Steele
  • Susan Spalt
  • Tyler Johnson
  • Jay Bryan

A special thanks to Catherine DeVine for inspiration, hard work, and a dream that we could all follow. And deep appreciations go to Rah Trost and the Carrboro Recreation Department for their support.

A wonderful open mic featured readings by some truly fabulous local poets. I heard old friends and discovered new talent. (apologies if we didn’t get everyone’s name right. Please let me know and I can correct it.)

Thanks to sponsors, including Logan Carter – Realtor, Carolina Wren Press, Raleigh Review, and Amante’s Pizza.

And of course, the Carrboro Poets Council: Jay Bryan, Susan Spalt, Celisa Steele, Catherine DeVine, and Tyler Johnson.

See you next year.

All In

OK. Here’s the thing. This is a picture of my son’s plate as he helped himself to dinner. I have noticed that children consistently put their plates only halfway on the table. This phenomena extends to other activities as well. For example, when working on a project, the object under development will often be balanced precariously on the edge of the workspace, with screws, spare parts, and other potentially valuable or messy things rolling around, scattering, and dripping to the floor.

Why is this?

At first I thought it was because they were short. That is what they have claimed, at any rate. But the oldest, and the villain who set the very trap in this photo, is now taller than I.

No, I think something more fundamental is at work here. Something… elemental.

I think the reason that people balance the things they love precariously on edges is because they are treading lightly. Too lightly. They instinctively hold back. They don’t want to fully commit. They are not all in.

And while I am now, at this stage of my life, a firm plater, confidently centering myself over my own stable dinner, there are aspects of my life that I still set up for failure. That I rig for fragility.

Why would any of us do this?

I see this especially in creative endeavors. Writing students tiptoeing into a scene. Dancers apologetically letting their minds steer their bodies like student drivers attempting that first halting merge into traffic.

It is the same for me performing music. If I am not fully committed to the performance, if I hold back, then the rhythm is shaky and unstable.

Only by going all in do we reach that stable center.