Last night, my former student and regular follower of this blog, Candice, drove me and another friend over to Casa Romantica for a poetry reading by Kate Durbin and Tony Barnstone. I was not familiar with either writer, though once Barnstone began reading, I realized I had seen his books around. It would be hard not to, I think, since there are so many of them, and all of them are full of wonderful creative energy. Besides books of poems in all kinds of forms and on all sorts of topics, such as book of double sonnets based on Tarot cards and a novel in verse, he also writes translations from Chinese verse. He could have gone on all night, quite willingly, I think, and all of use would have willingly gone along for the ride--at least I would have. His work was wonderful, funny, various, and his reading style congenial. I very much enjoyed getting to know a little about his oeuvre.
Kate Durban didn't have a book yet. Two--a chapbook and a full book of poetry--are going to come out soon though. She read the entire chapbook, written from the pov of Amelia Earhardt on her final flight, and it was terrific. But her presence was as striking as the work itself. She wore a long shirtwaist dress of black and white (I can't really remember whether it was narrow stripes or a small print), ruched in the front, and made up otherwise of tiny pleats. As she read, subtle sparkles caught the light. The dress had a wide, rounded satin collar, rather like a Pilgrim shirt. Her hair is white and cut somewhere between an asymmetrical 20s or 60s bob with bangs (imagine a blonde Louise Brooks) and a little Dutch boy look. Her red red lipstick and nail polish caught the eye in the semi-dusk of the room like the wavering flame of a lighted sconce.
I am sure we will hear more about her. It always helps for a poet to be beautiful, and she surely is, as well as being a very gifted young writer.