"A commission! I thought. My big break, at last! And then I went off to sober up."
I’ve always enjoyed giving poetry readings. To me, each one is a literary entertainment, a chance to hold the attention of listeners in a hospitable way, an opportunity to engage and delight them with some well-chosen language. It doesn’t matter if they don’t “get” the poem as they would when reading it on the page; it doesn’t matter if they only remember a few lines, or a title or two. What matters is that they’re hearing a fellow human being who did his best to get the best words in the best order, to arrange them—precisely, inventively, and joyfully—into those charged little worlds called poems.