First I attended a reading of little writers:
And some of them were so, so good. My favorite was a kid named Sam, who looked like a 4'8" version of Sean Penn. "Hey," he said to the audience. "I'm Sam, and this is my poem." But there was another one, too, who read a fractured fairytale that transported Little Red Riding Hood (here, Little Black Hood) into an urban neighborhood, where she headed to the corner store to fulfill her mother's shopping list. Yet another writer re-told Rapuzunel, but had the prince accidentally rip out all her hair on his way up the tower.
I have to mention that Risa read her story, "Trapped!" and that the exclamation mark cracks me up every time I see it. Vida read a color poem. Did you know that "lavender is the bruise that is left when you take out a splinter?" Well, it is.
And then I attended a reading of big writers: Randall Mann, Kristin Naca, Debbie Yee, and Mariano Zaro. Here's a picture I blatantly stole from Oscar Bermeo's flickr:
First of all, I appreciated the admission that some of these fine poets made about feeling like "lazy writers" or not always being intrinsically inspired to write. I think it was Debbie Yee who went on to say that being part of a community of writers is crucial to her writing.
Randall Mann and Kristin Naca read such honest work, and were hilarious between poems. I admired the concise language—crisp even in their self-described "torrid love affair" poems, where some loss of control would be, you know, understandable. On my drive home, I thought about what a contrast this is to my own unwieldy (fiction) writing. I'm newly inspired to find the one right word, instead of twenty almost-kinda-maybe words.
Debbie Yee's poems (for me) had a fairytale, spun-sugar quality (and you know how I love fairytales...), what with the tiny animals, the moon, and the aftermath of a failed princess marriage. Her reading style was restrained—even quiet—and I liked the way it forced me to listen more carefully. So charming.
And then there was Mariano Zaro, who read every poem in both Spanish (swoon) and English. Again, there was that gorgeous quality where not a word goes to waste. Or, more to the point, every word counts.
Another fun things about the PAWA Arkipelago Series reading is that I got to hang out with Pinoy Capital and BPF (Blog Pal Forevah!) author Sunny Vergara. If you require visual proof, click here. I also got to chat with Barbara Jane and Oscar, who I hadn't seen in four thousand years:
And finally, it was so nice to see Oscar Penaranda and Penelope Flores. The whole afternoon reminded me of how long it's been since I was able to attend a reading, and that I should do it again. Soon.