Thursday, March 30, 2017

Fortunate To Hear @Danez_Smif Read @FairfieldU

Sometimes I just count my blessings and am thankful that people are persistent. Since last semester, instructors in the Black Lives Matter course and fellow lovers of language have asked if I wanted to be a co-sponsor of poet Danez Smith who was scheduled to do a reading on our campus. The requests came during periods of exhaustion (which can be read that my mind doesn't work and I'm unable to process). After research and finger snaps from many spoken-word poet friends, I simply had to say, "I'm in. I look forward to the visit."

My day began with a school visit, followed by a 2.5 hour poetry slam with students at Columbus School, followed by Faculty Salary Committee, followed by letting my dog out, and resulted in a wonderful dinner with Danez (so, so thankful for Jill Bodach for bringing this writer to our campus's attention), followed by one of the best readings I've experienced on Fairfield University's campus.

There was a day when I attended such readings and was never invited to dinner beforehand. I hate to admit this, but it is the pre-gaming dinner that is the most enlightening part - sort of a face to face gathering with the writer in a relaxed atmosphere where people can simply be people before the performance begins.

Ah, but the performance.

BAM! Incredible!

Danez's performative pieces spoke to the crowd and I loved the delicate way they weaved gentle humanity with complex reality.  A highlight from the evening was when I heard from Diva that Danez Smith is one of the poets she watches often on YouTube and she wrote about their poem about a young boy and his dinosaur. As her text came in, they announced they were going to read his poem, "Dinosaurs in the Hood." The timing was perfect and I became angry at myself that I didn't have Attallah with me for the reading.

Blessed to be an audience of his work, if only for a short while.

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