Sunday, April 1, 2012

56. Readings } & recordings.

Iowa Digital Library, associated with The University of Iowa and Prairie Lights Bookstore, has now a public archive of “author readings, interviews, talks about writing.” Prairie Lights was one of the first stops John Cotter and I made on our book tour (a tour that ended for me in Chicago last month). The Prairie Lights reading was ideal. A large crowd, comprised of friends, their friends, and a happy number of strangers. John and I were in good spirits, we read well, and afterwards had the pleasure of talking with audience members who wanted to know more about us. We sold all our books, too.

Rob Schlegel introduced us. John read first. He uses a microphone well, so sounds terrific on record. I stray from the rostrum, so fade in and out during my self-intro. Rob sets me up as the “former poet laureate of western Montana’s Potomac Valley,” a reference to the two years I taught elementary and junior high school students at Potomac School. When I thank him for his introduction I say I was “given the laurel by a group of 5th graders.” (Rob took the crown from me when I left Montana.)

I also said, “There’s something about having your own book that’s odd. It’s like an object from an alternate reality. Every other book looks real but one with my own name on it does not.” I pause, give a short description of Color Plates, then read “Olympia,” “The Tub,” “Woman Fixing Her Stocking,” and “White Lilacs and Roses.” Here, the recording is good; either I adjusted to the microphone or a savvy sound engineer made the adjustment for me.

Is it rare for a non-celebrity to have a recording of a great night? As rare as candid photos of the first conversation you ever had with your wife. More of the story is “18. Readings } a leg. & bones.

[The photo above is of Iowa City, taken from the Iowa House Hotel. The quoted description of the public archive is from Kyle Minor's April 1st HTML Giant post.]

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