Information about the Desert City Poetry Series, contemporary poetry & poetics, and poetry readings & events in central North Carolina.

Monday, August 23, 2004

After the First Season

Soon after Cecil's reading in November of 2002, I met Kathryn thanks to our good friends Sunny & Marc. We dated that winter, spring, and at the end of the summer of 2003, I moved into her place just north of Pittsboro. It's a wonderful 19th century farmhouse -- part of the Blue Heron Farm intentional community.

I wasn't entirely sure that I would continue to run the series. The Triangle area (Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh) seemed like a daunting place to independently program poetry readings. I didn't have many local contacts, didn't know the venues, and thought that all the activity of other arts events here would make attracting media attention difficult. One of Winston's benefits was the lack of competition.

I did have a few contacts in the area: Evie graduated from Duke University with a doctorate in English. Then in the summer of 2003 in Raleigh I met Tessa Joseph, a fellow Area II teacher at Governor's School East. A doctorate candidate in English at UNC and an MFA alum from Cornell, Tessa shared her recent poetry reading list with me -- I knew I'd found a friend when Juliana Spahr's book Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You topped her list also.

My other local contact was the then newly appointed, always unstoppable Patrick Herron, Poet Laureate of Carrboro. Mike Magee's note had informed me that he lived in NC, but I was already aware of him from his frequent, passionate, & lucid posts to the University of Buffalo's Poetics Listserve. We'd been briefly in touch before, so when I moved in August to the area, I invited him out for a beer & chat. We met at the Orange County Social Club; Patrick said I'd recognize him by his red "Jesus Loves Me" t-shirt. Sure enough. We had a good talk about poetry, poetics, the Desert City, an anti-Bush reading he was organizing for that fall, and the Carrboro Poetry Festival. We had many similar goals, tastes, ideas -- talking with him, I realized I wanted to continue the series.

In October, I went to his Poets Against the Shrub reading. It was a great reading; the first time I heard Patrick read, met and heard shirlette ammons, and met Joseph (Joe) Donahue. Patrick introduced me to Joe after the reading, and we got talking. Joe was enthusiastic about the series, gave me some ideas for it based on Seattle's Subtext model, and generally helped me think the series could be a success in the Triangle.

I decided on my way home that night that the first reading of the second season would feature Patrick and Joe.

Soon: Season two, season three schedule, & more.......


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