I shared some highlights of my Friday night and Saturday day at the IRA Conference recently in New Orleans. By late afternoon Saturday, I was pretty exhausted. And a little bit nervous. I was going to dinner with some Lerner folks, who had hosted my signing that afternoon and helped support my trip to IRA. Dinner with people from your publisher is usually lovely–and nerve-wracking. I tend to stink at small talk and social situations. I was going with Patricia Stockland (Editor in Chief–but I’ve met her several times and she’s lovely, so that part wasn’t quite as scary as it might have been), Lisa Dunham (School and Library Marketing Manager), and Adriano Fruzzetti (Associate Product Manager). And from there, I would be going to perform at the Poetry Olio, with heavy hitter poetry PERFORMERS like Bruce Lansky, U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt, Brod Bagert, and more. I can read poetry effectively, but I am not a performer. So…I was having some low-grade anxiety about that.
The good news is that I had a wonderful night! Patricia, Lisa, and Adriano and I had a lovely dinner at an Italian restaurant. It was an hour or more of good food and funny stories. It was really delightful! And, it helped me calm down before the Olio. I’m sure the pina colada I had didn’t hurt, either.
At the Olio, a crowd of 300–400 people showed up. For poetry. On a Saturday night. How awesome is that? I got to go on early, so that was great in that I then got to relax and listen to a wonderful group of poets (including David Harrison) read their work. It was 2–1/2 hours of baseball (yep), school productions, and other scenes being acted out, sung, hollered, etc. And audience members came up and read, too. It was really a cool event!
I read a couple of poems from STAMPEDE and THEN THERE WERE EIGHT, but I mostly read unpublished poems from a chapter book centered around a collection of gross poems.? They were well received, and I had a good time!
Here are a few highlight pics.