Poetry as Dialogue at The Northwest Poets’ Concord

At 9:12 am when the rainbow attired A. Molotkov has usually been soundly sleeping for 3 or 4 hours, he shuffled and dealt out the handouts to a conference room filled with poets. John Sibley Williams moving his Lincolnesk height about the room seemed at ease and I was guessing we should start especially since the “Bad Grrrlz” of Poetry were up at 10 am. If you attended the Northwest Poets’Concord you may have caught the presentation on Poetry as Dialogue. I have to say things went well with only one complaint. Some did not want the conversation to end. Well, it hasn’t. Look to this site for further postings on the topic and feel free to chime in. It can’t be a conversation without you.

For my part we were a bit short on handouts so I wanted to make sure if you wanted to look it over, you could. This also gives me a chance to correct some typos that made it through the rush to prepare the pamphlet. If you find more feel free to alert me. Start here with the link to Meat Puppet which was never meant to be Meet Puppet.

After the conference and all the jawing on about poetics I want you to think about the conversations you found memorable. The inspiring and the insipid, the boasting and the boring, the gut busting guffaws and the disheartening gaffs. If you remember it, it is important. After all remembering is repetition and repeated things are important and important things are repeated.

Poetry As Dialogue handout

3 comments for “Poetry as Dialogue at The Northwest Poets’ Concord

  1. David Cooke
    May 7, 2012 at 10:01 am

    After the Poetry as Dialogue presentation and reading Robert Hass’s “Story about the Body” a woman came up and talked with me about her own mastectomy, about teaching, and how moved she was by Meat Puppet. She would tell her students about her breast amputation and tap the rubber prosthesis. Then she apologized for breaking the fourth rule of conversation “Don’t do all the talking.” Truly rules are meant to be broken. Just one of the memorable conversations at the Northwest Poets’ Concord.

  2. May 7, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    This woman came up to me and told me that I reminder her of someone, someone long gone, someone she kissed. She didn’t know why she was telling me this. I said that’s ok. We’re all just mirrors for one another anyways. I saw her drinking tea later that afternoon. I told her I drink tea all the time and asked what type she was drinking. “Are you sure you are not, Chris?” I said no, really, last time I checked I was still Sam Roderick.

    I challenged myself this weekend. I tried to write for the reader. It was hard. I ended up writing to my 3rd Grade math teacher, Mrs. Sherritt. She coughed a lot, thinner than paper, I would always wonder what would happen if she went to Chicago or to the coast. I wrote about her missing the boy who moved away, somewhere in Brazil, he had brown hair, smelled like charcoal. I would see her staring at his empty desk. She kept it right in the middle of the room, separate. The way we would keep paper clips and thumb tacks away from each other. I became Mrs. Sherritt. I did not write for her. John Williams, my apologies. I can’t write thinking of the audience first. I admire those who can.

    My heart says, I’m watching you. That is why I attended the Concord this year. I’m not a boy anymore. I need to speak a little louder. It was a good retreat, informative presentations, inspiring workshops by Barbara Drake.

    Poetry is a dialogue. It is a personal language, a foreign language, dialogue keeps it alive. So I appreciate the presentation by all three of you. The lady who wants to call me Chris left early, I think she is sitting by a cliff thinking of tea leaves and the murmur of the color green.

  3. David Cooke
    May 8, 2012 at 7:28 am

    “This woman came up to me and told me that I remind her of someone, someone long gone, someone she kissed. She didn’t know why she was telling me this. I said that’s ok. We’re all just mirrors for one another anyways. I saw her drinking tea later that afternoon. I told her I drink tea all the time and asked what type she was drinking. “Are you sure you are not, Chris?” I said no, really, last time I checked I was still Sam Roderick. The lady who wants to call me Chris left early, I think she is sitting by a cliff thinking of tea leaves and the murmur of the color green.”

    There’s your poem which strives to listen to the other character, tries to get in her head and thus the head of those that might connect with her more than they connect with you. Very reminiscent of Hass’s “A Story about the Body” which was read as an example of the point we were trying to make. I like the way she avoids the tea question and how even with that ealier steering of the conversation you still think she is thinking about tea leaves. The attempt at empathy is central to poetry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *