When I first began reading my poetry in public, I did it in some unlikely places, like out on the street in downtown Philadelphia, through a megaphone. As you might imagine, this was not the ideal venue for poetry, especially the rather quiet and meditative stuff that I tend to write. I am not a Poetry Slam natural; such a venue was made for those guys, not me. But I did it, feeling like a musician in a loud bar, with the loud and oblivious life of the city streets going on all around me, and nary an attentive listener.
Today when I went on talk radio to talk about my essay in the book Easy to Love but Hard to Raise and my forthcoming book of poetry, Balance, it was kind of like that. I guess it didn't register at first that this was talk radio, not PBS.
I grew up in a house where that kind of talk was the order the day. In the late 60s, my father and I spent many dinner hours getting dyspeptic over the mashed potatoes, screaming about the peace movement. I went to college so I didn't have to engage in pointless discussions like that, in which no one was listening and no one was even trying to be persuasive, and indeed ended up teaching students to argue persuasively and logically. So it was not the most natural place for me to be, but if one person heard me talk about the anthology, one person who might get some solace and assistance from that book, and perhaps even one person who might be interested in reading my book of poems, this will have been worth it.