This weekend, I’m heading up to Memphis to read in the Impossible Language Reading Series. Here’s the thing about reading series: sometimes, being a poet is a sad and isolated thing, but readings give us the rare opportunity to gather and listen and love what others do with their work. Readings become the place where we meet each other, fall in love with each other, remind each other of what we do with language and why it’s so damn important. Readings become the place where we carry our love of language to meet our love of others who love language like we do. And if any reading series has brought this experience to me, it’s the Impossible Language Reading Series.
I’m grateful-beyond-grateful to my friend, soul sister, collaborator, and poetry compatriot Ashley Roach-Freiman for inviting me to read this weekend, in the last ever edition of the Series. And I’m also unbelievably grateful (NOTE: I just accidentally typed “great-ful,” which is appropriate for the information I’m about to drop) to be sharing the stage with Christian Anton Gerard and Heather Dobbins, two phenomenal poets who are also phenomenal and positive pillars in the poetry community. So often, the literary community can feel snarky and competitive and generally just kind of dark. Ashley, Christian, Heather, and all of the other beautiful people I’ve met through this beautiful series have shown me what this community can be at its absolute best: a group of people supporting each other and carrying each other as we do this difficult work in this difficult world. It’s such an honor to know them.
The reading will take place at 7 pm on Saturday, December 15th. It’s at story booth, one of my favorite places in Memphis and, well, anywhere. Here are two things you need to know about my reading:
- By 7 pm on Saturday, December 15th, I will not have had time to go see a Star War, so PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT SPOIL THE NEW STAR WAR FOR ME. If you’d like to discuss a Star War once I see it, I will totally give you my e-mail address because I am going to be SO READY TO DISCUSS. I am, however, already ready to talk about porgs.
- I’m traveling to Memphis from Alabama. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but some stuff has been going on here lately. I moved back to Alabama about a year and a half ago, and it’s been wonderful and terrifying and lovely and terrible and wonderful again. This week has given me the kind of hope for and deep pride that I’ve never felt for my state. This weekend, I’m going to be reading some poems from my forthcoming collection, House Is An Enigma (it is still so exciting to type those words). I’m also going to read some brand new work about living in the Deep South because this is the first time I’ve felt safe enough to read it. So fasten your seat belts and make sure your tray table is in the upright and locked position, Memphis. We’ve got a lot to talk about.*
*Just as a reminder, that does not include The Last Jedi. Yet. But it does include porgs.