Sunday, June 13, 2010

You When You Were Younger

Let me tell you about this wonderful reading I attended last night. Not your average poetry reading, this reading featured six or so who read from their early, teenagery work. Hosted by the beautiful Niina, who apparently used to be goth, the reading was such a touching experience that it almost makes me cry thinking about it. I told G. about a poem Nicole read about being overweight and feeling as though no one would ever love her, that she wouldn't be able to give her mother grandchildren. Another reader wrote about two cousins who had to move in with her family when their parents died. She was annoyed that the cousins hogged the tv and took over her bathroom, stuff like that, but then her younger self is grateful she had parents of her own. Incredible, right?

It's interesting through all the haze of the-world-is-bullshit, Holden Caulfield type writing, the seriousness that was addressed--coming out, body issues, feeling neglected and misunderstood. (Amy pointed out a thematic connection many of the writers shared regarding someone hogging the "good television," but it seems like being pushed off the shows they wanted to watch actually got them writing and creating). The old man read from some of his cute juvenalia, a poem called "I Must Be An Adolescent," in which he wonders if man "should have ever had a SURPLUS of GOODS." The reading made me know and understand those writers in a whole new way. I felt as though I had traveled back in time with them and I was just like them but so so different. The old man wished he had gone to high school with everyone who read (and it turns out he actually did!) but I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad they just took me into their pasts, into their beginnings, into how they were first starting to make sense of it all.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Voices You Hear Were The Ones You Made

When you read over italicized words, do you read it differently? I do. I kick italic-voice right in. I did it a ton while reading Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. She's the best italic-voice giver. She writes about having to call an ambulance. Just come, she said. Just come. I love that. It's interesting that just by slanting the letters, you can change how the words sound in your mind.

Speakin' of voices you hear when you read, do you hear someone's voice that isn't your own? I hear my senior English teacher's voice. Mrs. Boniol was the first teacher who read something like she cared about it. My other English teacher wore pants slips. I could see them sticking out from under her pants.

Steve Roberts, a poet I workshop with, hates italics in poems. I sort of agree or agree enough to try it. I like it when you can't tell who's talking, if there is even someone talking. I like guessing at emphasis. I took all the italics out of my manuscript today.