Thursday, April 29, 2010
Earth Day 2010 - a busy day of poetry
April 22, 2010 was not only Earth Day, but judging from the events in the area, it was also Poetry Day. CSUS featured at least three poetry events: Way Cool Daddy-O Earth Day Reading, which I was pleased to host (more on this event below); Andrea Gibson - a spoken word poet and activist (http://www.andreagibson.org/), whose reading I attended; and a poetry slam hosted by a campus fraternal organization. FlatmanCrooked was in Davis, and BL Kennedy hosted his last event at Luna's. I am sure that there were more events that day.
Photo is Bill Gainer in the foreground, ESO students in the tie-dye. In the background are Martha Ann Black, NSAA, JoAnn Anglin, and Robert Grossklaus. See the rest of the Earth Day Photos at the SPC Facebook Page.
The Way Cool Daddy-O Earth Day Reading was suggested by Jasmine Greer of the Environmental Students Organization at CSUS. I was pleased to coordinate and host this event that featured some of the area's finest poets writing environmental poetry (apologies to those who did not read, but we're looking at another event for next year). In order of appearance, they were: Robert Grossklaus, Martha Ann Blackman, Bill Gainer, JoAnn Anglin, NSAA, Alexa Mergen, and Bob Stanley. This event was enjoyed by all and had a large group of students throughout the 3 hours.
It turns out that The Buzz did not have any sound system or microphone, but Bob Stanley came to rescue and borrowed the system from SPC. While waiting for Bob, Jasmine read a piece by Martin Luther King, Jr, I read a short fable piece from the introduction to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, and Laurel played guitar and sang. The party really got going, though, when the microphone arrived.
Robert read first because he had to get to Luna's where he was hosting the huge open mic list (more on that later), and he was quite the starter. I think the most interesting part might have been when Bill took the stage. For those of you who've heard Bill read and have seen him live, you'll know what I mean. It turns out that Jasmine's dad listens to Bill on the radio, so Bill said (I'm paraphrasing here), "Your dad must be the age of my son." Jasmine told Bill that her dad was 68 (or thereabouts). Well, Bill teased her about being a love child. Yep, he did. She was great about it, too. So were the ESO students at the table Bill decided to pull into the reading, also. It was great fun.
Martha Ann reminded us about Rancho Seco, although I'm not sure the students knew about it. JoAnn and Alexa were nice complements on either side of NSAA, who read "North Pole Jihad," because their poetry was quite similar. Bob finished the reading with poems from others and some of his own. Sandy Thomas showed up midway through the event, and she read a poem, "Ocean" after Bob.
Most of the poets (and this host) wanted the t-shirts that Jasmine and her group were sporting that night. Great tie-dye colors and designs.
In between, I had Laurel return to the stage to play and sing with a microphone. We could all hear her much better.
I was pleased to have been able to work with each of these poets and with Jasmine. It was a wonderful event, even if we had some snafus at the outset. I look forward to coordinating more readings on the CSUS campus and in the community and hopefully work with Jasmine.
Andrea Gibson's performance was quite different from the previous event, but it was a nice transition between the coffee house and Luna's, another coffee house. Andrea took the stage, and the piece I recall was about her time as a preschool teacher and the children who asked her if she was a boy or a girl. She didn't answer that question, and they'd soon be more interested in swinging.
I finally reached Luna's around 9 or so. Standing room only. BL was reading when I arrived, and I saw Bob Stanley, Bill Gainer, Robert Grossklaus, and Martha Ann Blackman, who'd gone there straight from CSUS. The open mic list was quite long, but some people left before their names were announced. Josh Fernandez read this piece using BL throughout. The B and the L beginning different words. Bob Stanley played his banjo and sang. Terryl Wheat (who'll be reading at Hot Poetry in the Park in May) read a short piece about hugging a tree. There were too many poets for me to recall everyone who took the stage and read. The last open mic person finished at about 12:15 a.m.
I did not, sadly, make it across to Davis. A person can only be in so many places on one evening.
There's poetry everywhere. Just look.