Last weekend The Scarab Club hosted LitFest 2009 as part of the Midsummer Nights in Motown festivities. What an incredible event. While 2008 National Book Award winner Mark Doty was the main attraction of the day, there was a very tempting book sale in the garden where I managed to pick up two armfuls of books from Wayne State Press. I can’t wait to read Bonnie Jo Campbell’s American Salvage and Andy Mozina’s The Women Were Leaving the Men. Marick Press was there, too, and I picked up a copy of Emily Ate the Wind by Peter Conners. I also snagged a signed copy of Exiliana by Mariela Griffor. My to-be-read pile never looked so tempting.
There were so many wonderful, eclectic readers throughout the day. The event started around noon and I finally left around midnight, as the cleaning crew set to their task. My thanks go out to Tonja Bagwell for offering me the mic to share some poetry and an excerpt from The Profiler. It was a pleasure.
Of course, Mark Doty was as entertaining as could be expected. He has such presence when reading, as though a best friend relating a story only the two of you could understand. But that’s the thing – his poems translate to everyone; no matter who you are, his poems resonate and penetrate the human soul. His pacing is divine, his comedic marks are never off, and when he completes the last line of the poem, you know you’ve heard something real. Something true.
I’m thankful to the muses for being kind to me lately. This year has presented itself with a sweet bounty of words dripping like literary nectar. My fingers have been frantic at the keyboard as of late and I am genuinely feeling that sense of… peace. Joy within the craft. It’s not always that way and one can never tell what sort of day the writing will bring. But for now, thankfully, the pen has been mighty.
Perhaps it is because I am making a deliberate effort to engage in community literary events more so than ever before. Perhaps this participation in seeing, hearing, and feeling other people at work is what is causing such an inspiration. At any rate, I have attended some exceptional readings lately and have many more coming up on the calendar. If this is what inspires, then the reward is two-fold.