September 24th, 2007

Egrets Reading

Wits at the Pits



left to right: Lois P Jones, Denise Dumars, W. Gregory Stewart, Deborah P Kolodji, Megan Sugarman, Samantha Henderson
kneeling: Kendall Evans


We were the “Bards in the Tar” or the “Wits at the Pits.” On Saturday, September 1st, an intrepid group of speculative poets braved triple digits to meet by a bubbling pond of asphalt in Hancock Park for the third quarterly workshop of the Southland Poets of the Fantastic. Since we aren’t Dire Wolves, we didn’t have to worry about getting stuck in any bubbling tar seeping up through the grass. (And, for those of you who’ve never been there, there really ARE unexpected patches of tar which appear in the lawn, so it’s to be crossed with care, and definitely not barefoot.).

I don’t recall who first suggested The La Brea Tar Pits as a poetry workshop location, but it turned out to be very inspirational. We had poems about Giant Sloths and fossils, Errant Eagles, Dire Wolves, and the La Brea Woman among other things...

It might seem odd to pick one of the hottest days in Los Angeles to write Ice Age inspired poetry, but there’s something about inspiration and wishful thinking….

We met at the tables in the Courtyard by LACMA, which was nicely shaded and had a breeze going through it where we snacked on food from the nearby Café and had a poetry sharing/critique session. We then wandered down to look at the ongoing excavations at Pit 91 and toured the Page Museum.

At the museum, we wrote poetry prompts inspired by the museum exhibits, the Pit 91 excavations, or simply the ambience of Hancock Park. We then switched prompts and had an hour of writing time before meeting back at the LACMA courtyard tables to share what we’d written.

Afterwards, Kendall, Denise and I toured the Latin American exhibit at LACMA where we were greatly amused by a painting of St. Anthony of Padua preaching to the fish. Finally, Denise and I had dinner at Canter's on Fairfax, ending a wonderful poetic day.

I even wrote three poems!