Are everything you want writing to be. I was in NYC this past Sunday for the launch for Alimentum. I sat next to Mark Kurlansky (author of Salt and Cod)---more food lit people then poetry people. Michol Negrin (author of Med. Grill) hosted and had a fabulous spread. With good food and wine, how could any launch not be this successful? I was even asked to sign someone's journal while waiting in line for the bathroom. What really got me was that this was my first impressive people party---everyone was literate, articulate, fashionable, and very supportive of each other. (i.e. Mark Kurlansky talking about Ramona, Youngstown, and labor strikes with me). I've often felt young and green at these functions but this was definitely not the case.
And then last night at the Mothertongue reading. Natalie is the BEST mc ever to rock a mic. She really comes alive and connects, creating a space in which everyone feels her gratitude and comfort. A place where you can say something funny, serious, indecent and be respected and embraced for it. I feel very fortunate to have met her and Sandra (two of DC's hottest younger poets). All too often we judge and often unfairly and harshly. Though yes, constructive criticism is like sun and water, I much prefer singing to the seeds to let them rise. I think of this as I am in the middle of reading my students' final portfolios, which they have attached pictures, colors, printed on maps, and handmade books, and feel lucky to see what came about in a semester. That they, like me, all have a first book, and this is the one that matters most.