Monday, September 1, 2008

Mountainair in the company of poets

Sent by Dale Harris:

In the company of poets is surely the best possible place to be and so it was for me this year in Mountainair, Aug. 21 – 23, writing and listening to poetry in the making. I couldn't have asked for a better time (august, sumptuous sunflowers, summer, nights and early mornings beginning to cool), a better place (this small, unlikely town that never fails to beguile, enchant and even entrap! with ranching and railroading vibes, funny store fronts, not enough main street to matter, curios and curiosities, and a haunted, historic hotel) and better people to share it with (funny, smart, wise, forward, one step ahead of the herd, endlessly interesting, friends for life now). So Nadine, Sylvia, Karin, Susan, Terry, Shirley - you go, girls!! Take the literary cosmos by storm!

We tramped around town, ate pizza together, picked apart pantoums, trekked out to THE LAND/an art site where Miriam Sagan dazzled us with the brilliance of her poetics and art. Late arrivals Brenda and Maureen, thanks for putting a smile on my face when you walked in the room Saturday morning, sharing food and your friendship during the long afternoon of the Poets & Writers Picnic, an annual event I both love and dread.

My sweet husband & art partner Scott Sharot was the rock that anchored me and the wind beneath my stubby wings. His advice on how to perform a poem is always just what I need to hear and his encouragement is unfailing.

In the preceding months, Vanessa Vaile was the steady presence who poked the Sunflower Poetry Writing Workshop into shape, coming up with great resources and writing exercises. Her brochure gave it a bright face. Vanessa plugged us into the town of Mountainair's Sunflower Festival and linked everybody together with this fabulous Poets & Writers Picnic plog (what else would you call a place to blog poetry?), all mostly without complaint. Unlike me, who complained about all sorts of nonsense, right up to minute we started! Then the magic of poetry kicked in, swept me along and is with me still.

Suddenly it was Saturday morning. The group poem was still unfinished, but Scott got us on the same page and rehearsed us - truly a gifted cat herder. Stunning! serendipitous! smashing good fun. I can't say enough thanks to you all. "This Town", the poem that we wrote together, later performed at the Picnic and coming soon to blog near you, is a love letter to Mountainair and to all the other little towns we've ever lived in or wanted to.

Meet us in Mountainair, next year!


Dale Harris

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