Saturday, August 05, 2006

THE PAYOFF

My wanderings with the child have been pleasant in their own right. I imagine that this is how most of life should be: somewhat aimless, with no real goal, all the while enjoying the scenery and experiences and events and people along the way. There has been no expectation on my part that anything has to happen. Today, however, it did.

The child and I took our weekly walk to the Puyallup Farmers Market. It usually entails stopping in at the library, playing on the slides and swings in the park, sometimes purchasing some local produce or bread, and looking at a few booths. We usually head out in the morning and are back home for lunch by noon. On this trip, I decided we would take lunch so that the child could play in the public wading pool when it opened. After she "swam," we went searching for something to be the anchor of my meal, which in this case meant a chili dog. As we headed over to the food booths to obtain the aforementioned chili dog, I noticed that there was to be a poetry reading in the park. Considering that the poetry reading was in the park and in Puyallup, I figured we might sit for a few minutes and go home. But, the headliner for the event was Marvin Bell, one of my favorite poets whom I have had the pleasure of hearing read before.

So, the child and I ate our lunch while the opener, a high school student whose name I forget (sorry), read three well-written poems. Next, while Boyd Benson, a poet who teaches English at Washington State University read for 20 or so minutes, the child decided to take a nap in her stroller, albeit with a noisy beginnings to her slumber. I walked out of the range of other audience members, so they could not hear the child, and started pushing the stroller back and forth across the park. She fell asleep in time for me to regain a seat close to hear Marvin Bell read.

It was wonderful. He read some old poems, he read some newer poems, and he read some poems from a forthcoming book to be published in July 2007. He read one of my favorite poems he has written, "White Clover." His newer poetry was about war and dreams, especially the dream that our nation has fallen into during this current war in Iraq. It was exactly what I feel political poetry should be about: subtle rather than blunt, challenging without being overly accusatory, personal while speaking to all. This was definitely "payoff" for all of my wanderings, even though a "payoff" was not necessary.

Afterwards, I went home and grabbed my volumes of Bell's poetry off of my library shelves. The inscription inside my copy of Poetry for a Midsummer's Night, which includes "White Clover," reads: To Troy - with much pleasure - Marvin Bell - 6 August 1998 - Open Books. That was eight years ago tomorrow.

I cannot make this stuff up.

I should also mention that the poetry reading was presented by River and Sound Review, a non-profit that is affiliated with Valley Arts United. Valley Arts always seems to be an organization on the brink of collapse; their website hasn't been completely updated in over two years. However, River and Sound Review seems to be of a higher caliber than what normally passes for Valley Arts affiliates. River and Sound Review did a good job of hosting and also had two literary games involving audience members between the readings. I was impressed enough to add myself to their email list.

1 comment:

Marc said...

Hey Bro!
Good to see you got some poetry in today, as it was a beautiful day! Nice to see that you are going strong with the posts. I finally put a few up after almost a month of absence! LOL!