Monday, June 20, 2005

Stephen Dunn and Ted Kooser read

So I almost forgot. Almost forgot that Stephen Dunn and Ted Kooser were reading tonight here. Two for one. That is the understatement of the year. And I was brazen too. Tell you about that in a moment.

It began late and my daughter was getting fidgety. She saw Ted Kooser read last time and loved him. She says his poetry is understandable. After too many introductions of university officials, they finally introduced Stephen Dunn. As he was putting on his microphone, it got tied up on his glasses. He never got them undone and did the whole reading with this wire up around his glasses. As a result there was feedback the whole reading. It was like a collective hum. Sort of poetry set to music! He read for not long enough. Only one poem that I hoped he would read, a few I had heard, several I hadn’t. The audience, mostly attendees at the writers’ conference here, seemed split between those that had heard none of his poems, or those that knew all of them. People seemed to enjoy his humorous poems and seemed shocked at those that weren’t. No one clapped for those. Not impressed with the audience.

Ted Kooser took the stage and read for a little longer. He read poems that he read last winter. He read a poem he wrote this week about the stink of fame, and him lapping it up like a dog. Very funny.

What he did was invite the women to give him their addresses to be included in his annual Valentine poem he sends by mail to ladies. I was inspired to be brazen.

After the reading, I purchased two Dunn books, his collected works 1974-94 and his book of essays entitled Walking Light. I got them both signed. Dunn noted my daughter, and commented that my daughter and I look alike. He asked for my name and inscribed the books. I think he may have blushed.

Ted Kooser was sitting next to him signing as well. I did not purchase any Kooser books because I purchased a few last time, and honestly I came to see Dunn. But what I did do was scrawl my name and address on a slip of paper for a future Valentine. He took it happily. I can be brazen. I was going to scrawl it on a copy of one of my poems but I thought that might be a bit much.

The university photographer took our picture with Dunn so I might call them tomorrow and ask for a copy. That would be cool.

We made our way past the table of chocolates, my daughter grabbed several and we left. A very pleasant evening I wish would have been longer.

X posted to lj.

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