I'm back in Texas from a year spent mostly in Oklahoma preparing a house for sale and two summers on the road. Now the big question, how often to drive into Austin for its fabulous readings and open mics? It's an hour and a half each way, driving back in the dark dodging the deer, but I want to be part of the community of poetry.
Sunday I attended a small open mic, Recycled Reads, on Burnet Road in Austin. I'd never been there before, and it was fun to get to know Louise Gail Richardson and Ralph Hausser better. Thom Woodruff I knew pretty well and having been keeping up with on Facebook, but it was great to see him again. Excellent writing, small group, reading together around a table. This Sunday was narrative writing (though we really could read whatever we wanted). Two other Sundays are poetry, I think, and one Sunday there's not a group.
Tuesday I went in to Austin again for the Just This writing group at the Austin Zen Center. It meets at 7:30, and people sign up to attend through Meet-up. I'm a co-leader with Donna Birdwell and Kim Mosley.
We wrote to the prompt:
The world isn't the way I want it to be.
The world is just as it is.
What am I going to do about it?
We read the questions in a circle, each person taking a line, a little like what people do in a musical round, going round the circle several times. That worked great. I wish we had a recording of it. Then we did our usual short meditation, twenty minutes of writing, and sharing what we wrote. The responses, as usual echoed each other in some themes and brought out new ideas. I love to hear what people come up with. Some of the responses will be posted on the Just This site later this week. justthis.austinzencenter.org
I was going to go in to Austin again tonight because several people whose poetry I love read tonight at the New World Deli for the Austin Poetry Society (Cindy Huyser, Gordon Magill, & Brady Peterson are among the group of featured readers) but I couldn't face the drive again so soon. So I rested and swam with my hound dog Rex and began to feel more human. Marie Cossa hosts that reading. There are often songwriters and poets accompanied by music at the reading, and a lot of people have supper. It's once a month the 4th Thursday of the month 7 PM.
Saturday, though, I'll go to the Georgetown public library for Poetry Aloud, the group that used to meet at Cianfrani's on the square. It meets the 2nd and 4th Saturdays at 12:30 in the afternoon. (not quite so far for me and daylight) Mike and Joyce Gullickson are hosting. Or is it Mike Jones? Joyce sent me the e mail. Leaving aside the Just This writers, the group in Georgetown is my home group, though I've been gone so much that they might be surprised to hear that. The theme will be Homeless, but people don't have to write to the prompt. The group usually reads poetry but we have at least one songwriter, Ron Kewin, and a couple of people write memoir. I feel very at home with these kind folks.
And when I'm in town I always try to make Bookwoman on North Larmar in Austin on the second Thursday evenings of the month--about 7 PM. Fantastic poets! A big group that reads round robin one poem at a time after a featured reader. Sometimes they might have 30 or more people there, though some come just to listen. A lot of energy in that reading. Cindy Huyser hosts it.
And festivals are coming up in October--Waco Wordfest and the Georgetown Poetry Festival. More about the later.