Thanks to AMY JARDELL and Ozarks Literacy Council for sponsoring and former Springfield mayor BOB STEPHENS for rounding up local poets and setting up dates, the month-long series of poetry readings continues with a session tonight at 6:00 in the Republic Library. I look forward to joining KAREN CRAIGO, LORA KNIGHT, and BOB (himself a poet) at the library.
In total there are thirteen dates set during April, each featuring four or five poets. I was able to schedule for three. Tonight is my second. The final reading for me will be on the 25th at 6:30 in The Library Center in Springfield. Each poet has ten minutes or so to read and time passes easily. I hope to see some of you there tonight and on the 25th.
I enjoyed my time off. It came at a price though. I’m so far behind with so many people and projects that it will take a week to get caught up. Some nice things happened that I want to tell you about. If I owe you an answer to something, please be patient with me for a while. I promise to ge to you as soon as I can work through the backlog.
For one thing, thanks are do to everyone who has purchased a copy of THIS LIFE, AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, especially those who have shared such warm comments about what you think of it. That means a lot. If you still intend to get a copy, here’s the link. https://ozarksstudies.missouristate.edu/book-series.htm
As you know, April is National Poetry Month. For the second year, former Springfield mayor, BOB STEPHENS, and Director of the Ozarks Literacy Council, AMY JARDELL, are leading a group of local poets in a series of poetry readings throughout the month. Tonight leads off the series of 13 locations, at One Parkway Place at 7:00. I think there are to be four of us, or five. I can only make three of the readings but look forward to each and will let you know when and where they are as they come up.
AMY JARDELL, Executive Director of Ozarks Literacy Council, has announced that photographer RANDY BACON’S exhibition, Words and Pictures, is now on display in the reading room and the central room across from the children’s library at The Library Center in Springfield. Space is limited so not all pictures in the original show are included. I don’t know if I’m in this selection but I can tell you that every photograph and personal story in the exhibition is worth your time to go see.
At the end of September the display will be moved to the Duane G. Meyer Library on the MSU campus and remain there through December.
Last night I was one of a group of five poets who read from our work to recognize National Poetry Month. We met at Hold Fast Brewery in Springfield. It was a venue where I hadn’t been before. Here’s a shot of former Springfield Mayor ROBERT STEPHENS reading his work in partnership with Ozark Literacy Council to remind people of the importance of reading. There were many more people there than you see in the picture. We were outside so the wind was a small problem, as was the sun in my eyes when I was at the mike earlier, but not as bad as the time I read at a literature conference while standing atop the third-base dugout in the Springfield Cardinals baseball stadium on a gusty day that sent pages flying into the bleachers. Earlier that day I’d listened to BILLY COLLINS read from the same spot so I knew it could be done.
Last night I read from THE DIRT BOOK (And Now We Know), THE PURCHASE OF SMALL SECRETS (Cow Pie Jewels), BUGS, POEMS ABOUT CREEPING THINGS (A Tick’s Friends), CONNECTING DOTS (Something Happened Over Summer), and finished with the last poem in CONNECTING DOTS (Wishing You Bright Paint.) It’s a personal favorite of mine. Here it is.
WISHING YOU BRIGHT PAINTSometimes I feel --
I don’t know –
like a tube of toothpaste toward the end
rolled up tight against the cap
for a few last brushings.But if I say the tube is paint
used in pictures of my life,
that makes me feelI’ve accomplished something,
used the squeezes
to make things happen.I like that better
So as we go on, you and I,
you to your life, me to mine,
I wish you tubes of bright paint
for all the pictures of your life.
Take off their caps,
squeeze them well,
(c) 2004 David L. Harrison, from Connecting Dots, Poems of My Journey
Tonight is the VIP showing of Words and Pictures — The Power of Literacy through Portraits and Stories — a collaborative effort by Ozark Literacy Council and RANDY BACON, sponsored by Arvest Bank. It’s my privilege to be one of the subjects in the exhibition, which opens to the public tomorrow (Saturday, March 26) and remains open through May 28. I hope some of you will go see the black and white portraits of twenty-one subjects and their stories about they became so involved in and committed to promoting literacy in our community and beyond.