Poet, writer and professor, Kim Addonizio read from her latest works, “Mortal Trash” and “Bukowski in a Sundress” at The Book Lady, to a large crowd. Preceding her was local writer, poet and founder of Penny Candy Books, Alexis Orgera. Orgera read from her most recent book of poetry, and also shared some of her unpublished work.
The cupboard sized bookstore was packed, with many attendees standing by the bar, sitting on the floor or leaning against the bookshelves.
Orgera began by thanking everyone for coming and poked fun at the crowd saying:
“I know that you’re not here for me, but thank you nonetheless.”
Orgera opened by reading a paragraph of C.D. Wright’s work saying that it speaks to where we are in the world right now.
“Like serious poetry, serious political discourse is carried on in a contained nearly entropic environment. Being an American poet I resent that the only exhortations allowed to air nationwide are those uttered by greedheads, warheads, and other vicious throwbacks who assault the language in order to assail the earth,” she read.
Part of Orgera’s reading included a series of persona poems she wrote as Saint Agatha, a saint, and martyr who had her breasts chopped off during the year 231 in Sicily. To which she remarked that she gets “such a kick out of Agatha.”
“I know I shouldn’t–it’s serious stuff–but I don’t know, I guess I’m drawn to her voice.”
Both women pointed out the irony of their work being oddly accurate and relevant during this current political climate, despite being written before Trumps presidency.
Addonizio started her reading by saying to the crowd:
“Thank you all for coming out for something as bizarre as poetry.”
From her new book of poetry, “Mortal Trash,” she read a piece called “For You,” where the pianist accompanied her with a few chords and concluded with reading from her recently published book, “Bukowski in a Sundress.”
After Addonizio read, she and Orgera signed copies of their books, that were on sale at the Book Lady.
Commenting on the importance of poetry during times of protests Adddonizio remarked that:
“Imagination is more important than ever.”
“And we have to stay in touch with our creative selves and that’s under attack right now. Language is under attack and imagination is under attack. So I think that it’s really important that we pay attention to those things because it’s really getting misused.”
Addonizio said that she draws inspiration to write from everywhere, from reading “kickass poetry” and just staying open to everything. “From trying to expose myself to interesting people, cool people, cool art. Anything that kind of opens my head and gives me something that I want to put into words.”
She emphasized the importance of keeping yourself open to new writers, tuning into what writers others are excited about, going out to poetry readings and supporting writers by purchasing their books.
Addonizio mentioned in her reading that she wished she knew Brian would be playing because she wanted to make more use of his talent.
“Music is so important to all of us. It just hits you in the heart in the way I think language sometimes can’t. So when you put them together it’s explosive,” Addonizio said, speaking on her love for music and the need for more collaboration.
In terms of advice for those pursuing poetry and writing as a career, Addonizio encouraged young writers to commit to it.
“You don’t know where it will take you but it will take you somewhere if you really commit to it,” said Addonizio.
And if someone isn’t feeling motivated to committing or it becomes too hard, she suggested they, “find something else that makes the world a better place.”
The event took place Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. and was hosted by Seersucker Live. For more information on Seersucker visit their website.