Saturday, May 5, 2012
Writer's Night at University Synagogue
I have been a member at the synagogue for many years. During that time, I have come to recognize many people by sight, have talked to a number of them, have become friendly with them. But most do not know me as a writer, except in the very most abstract way, because poetry does not generally come up in the course of any ordinary conversation. But for the first time, the Rabbi decided to tap the writers in the congregation and have them present one piece each. It started with me. The Rabbi had read my book, Balance/ and admired it. He wanted to find a way to introduce the congregation to my work, to help me get the word out. But it still needed to be a service fit for a Friday night. So he decided to open it up to anyone in the congregation who had a Jewish-themed or spiritual piece (poetry or prose) to present. The group quickly grew to unmanageable numbers, and soon there were 14 people who thought they were going to do 3-4 poems or one good-sized work of prose each. As it turned out, we each got to do one piece each, except for last minute additions, one of whom waltzed up and did TWO good sized pieces, when it should have been clear that we were limited to one. Still, it was an interesting experience. I got to read first (my favorite position), doing one short poem, a new one, "Benediction to the Earth." Afterwards, though many people came between me and the end of the reading, many people came up to me full of enthusiasm for my work. I gave out a lot of cards featuring the book. I sold one that will be given to the synagogue's library. I met another writer who teaches in a low-residency creative writing program, and told her I am very much in the market for such a position myself. It was a good evening.