I tried to draw the look the people had who were listening to Tim Seibles reading last Tuesday night in the Jones Room at Youngstown State University.
It's a strange thing, but I swear sometimes you can hear people listening.
And it was such an incredible reading. I felt transformed afterwards. I know that sounds a little hyperbolic, but I wasn't the only one who felt it. One friend turned to me and said, he makes me want to write and write and write. A man seated behind me said, I think I could change the world if I felt like this all the time.
As he writes in his poem, "Familiar," in his new and wonderful book, Fast Animal
Some are marked, some . . .
So many words, such fever: the names
of the strained inhabitants moving
around, waiting to be called--
my own life: the bending
of a man into something
else: did I change? Are you
changed? I'm sure
it happens. Yes, I believe it
I am still spinning from that reading. I am still feeling inspired and moved. But I was also reminded of my time at Vermont College when one of my friends turned to me and said this funny line -- I thought poets were like angels. And I came here to study with my angels and they turned out to be a bunch of self-promoting, gossipy, cliquey, egotistical, sexist . . . She said this after overhearing after one of her mentors informed her that there were no women poets at VC worth studying with.
It's a funny thing, but I do think of certain poets as angels. Tim Seibles, Claire Bateman, and Tom Clark are three who come to mind right away. And all in their own unique ways--
I have been thinking of Tom a lot lately. A prolific writer and a brilliant mind, I swear his heart is bigger than the world can hold. His blog Tom Clark is like a little taste of heaven. Art, poetry, essays, insights, you name it . . . He was in an accident this week, and my thoughts are with him.
A poem by Tom that I love--I especially love that beatific strawberry.
With this living hand this moment I was writing, and with the other holding to my mouth a nectarine--good god how fine--it went down soft pulpy, slushy, oozy--all its delicious embonpoint melted down my throat like a large beatified strawberry.
What I liked best to feel is the inside of a billiard ball, or the luscious spheroid of a plum.
What I liked best to look at, when I am out walking, are the waves the wind makes in the wheat when it moves across the fields above the ground.
Nin Andrews is the author of 5 full collections of poetry and 6 chapbooks. She is also the editor of a book of translations of the Belgian poet, Henri Michaux. Her literary comics are posted on Best American Poetry's Blog on Monday mornings.