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Friday, January 6, 2012

Open Books Reading: Cooley, Fennelly, & Meitner

These three ladies rocked Seattle's Open Books last night!

Nicole Cooley read first from her book Breach and also a great new poem about dollhouses. I was taken with her poem "September Notebooks" right from the opening image from that book I read as a child about the porridge "that takes over the town." Morphing Katrina with 9/11: it works beautifully in this poem. Every word out of her mouth was incredibly powerful.

Then Beth Ann Fennelly blew me away with her reading of "Souvenir," which begins in humor and ends with incredible poignancy about our shared humanity. So good. And her poem about the painter Berthe Morisot was so inspiring. I read from Unmentionables last night until the book fell onto my sleeping face. Her poems just keep getting better and better. Here's a recording of her poem "Because People Ask What My Daughter Will Think of My Poems When She's 16." "When Did You Know You Wanted to Be a Writer?" made me laugh but also scared my mom jeans off. Sorry, but you have to buy the book to read that one.

Erika Meitner finished off the reading with her kick-ass poems, starting off with "Miracle Blanket," from her book ideal cities, which won the 2010 National Poetry Series. "Miracle Blanket" begins in humor and ends in supreme holiness--any poem with a saint in it rocks, but to pair the ridiculousness of the swaddling/shush-ing solution to a colicky infant and invoke the patron saint of babies made for a glorious coupling. I also loved learning about her process/hearing poems borne of combing the internet for the generic language of contracts/legal documents. And the poem about Wal-Mart, incantatory and spellbinding! Erika also has an even newer book from Anhinga, Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls. Read a review in Barn Owl Review

What a reading -- so inspiring. I can't wait to dive into their newest collections.  


Supervillainess said...

It was an amazing reading! And I was so glad to see you there - Seattle had to represent with some local poets!
Beth Ann Fennelly does something with book structures (each one different) that I just love. And all the readers had a great sense of language! I want to write more poems right now!

Martha Silano said...

Hi J9,

I would be hard-pressed to pick which poet I enjoyed most. They were equally amazing. So lucky I got to be there to hear all three of them -- it was epic!