Last night I did something I love to do and seldom do - I gave a poetry reading, with the other three members of my poetry writing group. It was at a local coffee shop, in a little room off to the side from the main room (where the lovely and loud espresso machine lives), and we had a nice audience - a full room! We each had about 11 minutes to read, which felt very short after all. One of the rules of the reading series is that you read your most recent poem, as well as whatever else you choose to read.
So, a couple things about this experience. Both teaching and readings appeal to the small portion of me that wants to have an audience and a chance to talk about a subject I am comfortable with and.or knowledgeable about. I do not typically like people staring at me, but it was okay and fun last night.
The last poem I read was one that I wrote two days ago. True, portions of it have been drifting around my head for a while, but I didn't start putting them together and filling in the connecting bits until this week. There was a particular image that so often rose in my mind while nursing Cora, and I really wanted to put it in a poem, and I finally found a way to do it.
A couple weeks ago I gathered up some poems for a chapbook, and sent that manuscript off to some competitions. That experience and then getting together poems for the reading, reading them, and hearing people's responses reminded me that I really am a poet. A good one, I think, and I should be doing more with this art I've been given and I've worked at.
So, here's a new summer resolution: send the poems out to magazines! Put the new manuscript together! Write more!