Next Wednesday night, I’ll again go on stage as “feature poet” at Hot Springs’ Wednesday Night Poetry. The first time I did my gig, it was held at Maxine’s, a bar and music venue. Since then, the organizers of Wednesday Night Poetry have moved to Kollective Coffee.  Wednesday Night Poetry has been held every single Wednesday for something like 1375 consecutive weeks; that’s more than twenty-six years, without missing a single night, regardless of circumstances.

I’ve attended Wednesday Night Poetry only a half-dozen times since I moved to Arkansas. I enjoy it, but it’s a bit of a drive and I am not a fan of night driving; my as-yet-uncorrected left eye is not a fan of night driving. I’m flattered to have been invited back, but I don’t yet really feel part of the poetry community. That’s because I really am an outsider. That, and I’m not a poet in the same sense as many regulars are; they live and breathe poetry, while I simply use it as a needed outlet from time to time.

This time, I’ve been asked if I would be willing to go on a new local radio station after the set is over (actually, an hour after the program ends, which would have me going on the radio program at around 10:00 pm). I don’t know much about what would be expected of me; I imagine I’d be asked to read, though it might involve being interviewed. Though I’m intrigued by it, I’m a little cautious, too. I suppose I’ll just wait to see what I can see.

I’ve tentatively decided on the poems I’ll read, though if it’s like last time, I’ll shift gears up to and including the time I’m on. The list I’ve selected is a mix of old and new poems, with a few of the older ones modified a bit since last time around.  Most are relatively short poems, though “Intersection” is a long one I read last time.  The list is a mish-mash of emotional levels, from dark to whimsical.

  • Circles on a Train
  • Seductions
  • Mint and Lamb
  • Stripper Pole
  • Intersection
  • Better Whiskers
  • The Road
  • Strangers Who Would be Friends
  • Relics
  • Mythic Meals
  • Star Dust

Having heard some truly excellent poets during WNP during the few times I’ve been, I feel very much like an amateur. And, in fact, I am. And I always will be. I suppose you have to expect a few amateurs on stage from time to time if you’re going to commit to a weekly poetry program. It will be interesting to see the audience this time around. I suspect it will be very small. I think the cadre of regulars tends to be very small, with fill-in when someone of note is on stage. This Wednesday, there’s no one of note on stage. I hope the regulars show; it would be a little disconcerting to read only to the host and the baristas, though it might be a little less intimidating.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Poetry

  1. I think. I write. I wish. I wander. says:

    You are generous to a fault, Millie. !!!

  2. Millie says:

    You are an amateur only in the finest sense of the word: one who does something out of pure love for the activity. Your writing is stunning. Moving. Sometimes hilarious. Sometimes terrifying. Always thought-provoking.

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