Thursday, December 2, 2010

My First Reading

This was much more specific and much more fulfilling than Being Published. Although I wrote poetry all through my time at Sarah Lawrence College, I only took one class in it, and was sometimes a bit outside of the poetry scene there. Still, the event that convinced me to go to Sarah Lawrence was attending their First Annual Poetry Festival. I went with Roger and Shelby, and we ended up not seeing much of the festival at all (in fact, I think we may have left in the middle of the first panel we went to see), but the atmosphere there, with so many vintage dresses and couches on the lawn, was unmistakably me, and I knew that day it was where I belonged.

My first two years, I volunteered at the festival, and senior year, I was thrilled to have weaseled my way onto the planning committee, despite thinking that you had to be elected by a secret board (not true – apparently, you can just email the incredibly wonderful head of the committee). This would have been enough for me, but when one of our elected student readers told us a few weeks before the festival that he couldn’t make it, we had to decide who among us should read. They knew I hadn’t read at previous festivals (I’d only applied once), but when I admitted I’d never read once during college, they gave me the spot, opening for Ilya Kaminsky, who was, coincidentally, a reader at the first poetry reading I’d ever attended.

It was a beautiful full-circle moment.