WRITING POETRY ON DEMAND AT THE SOUTHERN FESTIVAL OF BOOKS IN NASHVILLE

in poetry •  8 months ago 

I like to post about spooky stuff in October, and while this won't count as a horror story I was more than a little anxious about my Poetry On Demand shift at the Southern Festival of Books on Saturday afternoon.

The SFB is the premiere literary event of the year so it was THE place to bring the poetry, but the "on demand" bit was interesting. Some background: the on demand poetry writers are all local poets organized through The Porch creative writing collective in Nashville. We team up with WPLN's Versify podcast to document these events through audio recordings which are made into the podcast's episodes which examine the process of creating finished poems. Versify creator Joshua Moore asked me to join the writers/podcast after seeing me read at the Nashville Mini Poetry Festival in spring of 2017, and I was getting a bit self conscious about not having attended an event before I dove in on Saturday.

I spoke with a local guy who told me a story about how a first kiss with a high school crush and a freak basketball injury combined to change his life in one unforgettable evening while he was playing junior varsity basketball as a 16 year old in South Carolina. I interviewed him to get his story. We recorded that and we were also both interviewed by Joshua. I was also recorded reading my finished poem to my storyteller for the very first time.
If my poems makes a future podcast I'll be sure to post it here first. In the meantime, the image I'm using for this post was posted to my Instagram from the book festival. One of my poems was published in The Porch's Backyards & Boulevards anthology earlier this year. They had a stack of anthologies at the fest and I shared my poem with my camera.
It's tough to read without zooming in so here it is...

"Bus Poem 3"

On the bus
there’s no rush in
the waiting or
the riding.
We have this bus
just to us and
the cool of the day
is at
our backs.
All the lights go
green on a grey
Wednesday and
Route 23 always cuts
the corners.
We pass the polar bears on 12th Avenue,
feeling so cool
to be moving
along.
A black queen in
bejeweled sandals
swipes
her card and
scopes
a seat.
A cue ball in a motorcycle
t-shirt says “Hey,
Nefertiti. You’re a long way
from the Nile.”
She turns her high
chin and quotes
the Book of the Dead:
“In my heart are
the deeds my body
has done and
my heart has been
weighed
in the balance.”

Check out the Versify podcast here
Find out more about Poetry On Demand here
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