the way she wrote

April 23, 2009

I went to a poetry and fiction reading at Chatham University on Tuesday to hear the products of the chapbooks created by students in the MFA creative writing program. While listening to people read their works, I quickly got lost in the nervousness of the unestablished writers which added an element so bookreal to their poetry.


Listening to poetry is quite different from reading it. Differently just as good.


I hate to admit it, but at every reading I’m immediately biased by the voice and the character of the reader. If they speak with a hard-edged sound or fail to project the poetic clarity that I hear in my head when I scan their words, I might end up getting better acquainted with the space of wall in front of me than their poem.


I’m working to get past this.


I ran into a writer who graduated with me from college last year. Both of us were in the writing program and we had been in classes together that involved us reading and critiquing each other’s creative essays very carefully.


It’s off-throwing to encounter a familiar face in an unexpected setting, but as her face came into focus, I realized that I knew her mostly by the way she wrote. I envisioned some vague stories about time she spent in Europe, but mostly I envisioned her writing style. She wrote in clipped sentences and phrases with humorous quips that led up to neatly boxed ending.


I decided this is a nice way to know someone.


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