Saturday, April 24, 2010

National Poetry killing me.

Not really, but close.

I love it, of course, but a sonnet a day? Plus a decision I made to read all of Shakespeare's sonnets within the month? Yeah, I have very little free time.

But I am learning a great deal about poetry by trying out form in this way. I'm going to have a lot to say about it when the time finally comes where I have free time again.

I was published in the latest edition of Hazard Community and Technical College's literary journal, Kudzu. And I was invited to read at a special poetry reading for those who were published within the journal. Plus, Bianca was their guest of honor, and a work shop leader at the Spring Writer's Conference the very next day (I attended last year's, where fellow Affrilachian Poet Mitch Douglas ran a workshop. And I got to attend my first, and thus far only, class with Gurney Poet, our poet laureate and my hero).

But let me tell you how this day went. I need it on record.

Hazard is about a three hour drive for me. So I leave at 2. Gives me an extra hour, right? Well, I go to Kroger, get some water, some strawberries and kiwis which have been pre-cut, and some dried fruit (which I eventually found out had sugar added. WTF) since it was my first day post fast. And lemme tell you, I enjoyed the hell out of that fruit.

But before I left, I decided I'd just write the address down. I've been stressing about the job interview the next day (more on that at a later date, I promise you) and the reading itself, and so on, so I just saved myself the trouble of clearing my interview clothes off my printer, and just wrote the address down, to enter into my GPS.

10 minutes, at Kroger: I realize that it doesn't have the address IN my GPS, but I've wasted a good amount of my extra time already, so I call Regan, ask her to enter it into mapquest, and tell her to read me the second to last direction. I'm essentially going to go as far as my GPS knows to get, and then turn onto the last road, which I'm hoping I can see as I'm driving up the SECOND to last road... Done and done.

2 hours: An accident on the part of 75 south of Lexington which becomes a two lane highway. A semi has crossed over into the opposite traffic and slammed into the hill to the right of us. 30 minute to 45 minute delay.

4.5 hours: That second to last road that Regan told me about? It's a gravel road that goes about 45 degrees uphill. I almost get stuck going up it, to find a trailer, and a dog. Not a college. I've figured out by now, there must be two roads with this name. I have no reception, so I drive around aimlessly until I do, stop in the middle of the road, and hurriedly try to explain to a sleeping Regan that I need new directions. Regan gives them to me (all the roads, and there are 6 of them, are numbers and not names. Argh), and I realize I am half an hour away. The event has started.

5 hours: No reception, phone is dying, but I've been somewhat in contact with Bianca. I am close, I tell her. Driving up and down one of the last roads, looking for a road that I can not find. I see a sign that says Hazard Technical. I am there, I tell her. I go to the visitor's center. Don't see a library. Talk to the people in the parking lot. They say this is the Technical campus. I want the other campus. They give me directions. Go down the road (to 65? I can't recall anymore) and keep going until you see the restaurants. You'll see a turn there.

5 hours, 15 minutes: The road they told me to get to? When I get to it, it splits. One way is directly forward, the other way is slightly to the left. I decide that, given that they didn't tell me about this, they meant for me to go straight. Straight is always the unsaid direction. No reception, so I just drive. And drive. And drive.

5 hours, 30 minutes: This must be the opposite way. I'll give it 5 more minutes, because I can't afford to turn around, then turn around again. Almost out of gas.

6 hours: I've turned around by now. And here is the college. I park immediately, run around campus until I see the library, and come inside, where Bianca is reading her poetry, near the end of the event. Bianca sees me, and in one of the most gracious acts I have ever experienced, finished her poem, pointed me out to the crowd as a poet who still needed to read, and asked if I could perform after her.

This is from the feature poet, a woman who has a new book, and deserves the final spotlight.

I go up to read two poems, and sit down, panting.

We went to a country club, afterwards, a bunch of us, faculty and poets from all over mid-to-central Kentucky. I got a very salty, but by this time, delicious salad, and I got to enjoy yet another awesome meal with fellow AP Bianca, and my second with Gurney.

I really want to express how thankful I am for Bianca (who, by the way, mentioned me in her book, and gave me an awesome signed copy) and the APs.

But for now, I have quite a lot of work to do, and quite a little time to do it.


  1. You seem to find your way into many of these types of shenanigans and yet God continues to bless you. I'm glad you maintained a good spirit about it.

  2. Aw, Keith! You're such a boo. But, seriously, you literally drove that entire day about the same amount of time it took to get to Macon, member? Lol! If I had known that, I would have INSISTED even harder you get a room for the night.

    And I don't care if everyone had left for the night, I'd have broken in and turned the mic on, like HE SHALL READ!!! lol

    p.s. Why did I put sea salt on my salad today?? Like yummmm!!!