April 22nd, 2006

Egrets Reading

Chaparral Song

I decided not to drive to Fresno last night for the California Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc. convention. Having returned from Minneapolis at 12:30 am yesterday morning, I just wasn't up not up to a three and a half hour drive. So, I tried to get up as early as humanely possible and drive there in the morning. Unfortunately, I arrived about 11:30 am, which effectively meant that I missed the morning sessions.

I had planned to attend even before I found out that I wrote the "theme poem." I went for one day at the 2004 CFCP, Inc convention in Ontario and had a really wonderful time. They run it more like a very inexpensive poetry workshop (it only costs $30 to attend the entire 3 days, not including hotel room, travel expenses & the banquet & luncheon if you wish to attend those). Al Young, the California State Poet Laureate, gave a keynote speech tonight called "The Writer's Struggle: Crafting One's Poetry" which was very inspiring. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the presentation of "Cowboy Poetry 101: Then and Now" by Mick Vernon a lot more than I expected. I had been thinking, "Cowboy Poetry?" in a less than flattering way, but it was a very entertaining 50 minutes. Mick had a guitar and sang to accompany some of the poems and he's a good entertainer so it was....fun!

I was in minor shock earlier when I found out that I won the theme contest, mostly because I sat down and deliberately wrote a poem to fit the theme, so it was sort of an "assignment poem," rather than a burst of creative inspiration. However, I was relatively pleased with the result and it was fun to have it printed in the conference schedule as well as the prize winning poems chapbook. It was also interesting to hear it read as part of the conference proceedings & to have people look at my name badge and say, "Oh, you're the one who wrote the theme poem!"

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Tonight's festivities ended with a giant read-around, where everyone's chairs were rearranged into a big circle and everybody read one poem. At this point, there were about 50-60 people still there and it was fun to hear all of these different voices and poetry styles.