This past Thursday I had the wonderful experience of attending a poetry reading for the first time in well over two years. The event was hosted by local indie bookstore Books and Mortar. West Michigan poets Colleen Alles and Kristin Brace read from their most recent collections.
The reading was wonderful! I had previously purchased Brace’s book Toward the Wild Abundance, and picked up Alles’ After the 8-Ball (pictured above, with Poe) at the event, and both poets graciously signed their books and, as the audience was small, we spent some time after the event talking about reading and writing and life during the COVID years.
I have known Kristin for several years, from her tenure at the Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center as well as the weekly open studio graciously hosted in years past by Jack and Julie Ridl.
I met Colleen back at the end of 2019, when we published one of her poems in the last issue of The 3288 Review. Shortly thereafter, Grand Rapids Public Library put in an order for the entire run of the journal, all 12 issues. As luck would have it, at the time she was an employee of the GRPL, so when word got out that Caffeinated Press was shutting its doors, they decided to add our publication to their archives. It was the largest single sale ever for Caffeinated Press, and also one of the last. So it goes.
In reading news, I am still working my way through my unread issues of Poetry Magazine. I have finished 10 of them, and might make it through another 10 by the end of the month, though I will likely take a break after the issue I am currently reading (July/August 2019) to read After the 8-Ball.
In writing news, I am keeping up my pace of a new poem every day for National Poetry Month. This years the words are coming easier than they did last year or the years before, both because there is a little less of *gestures at everything* and because I have had two more years of practice both reading and writing poetry.