In the area of western North Carolina where I live, I declare that anyone who claims to be bored just isn't trying. I've never known of a place that offered so many cultural opportunities from folksy to highbrow. This weekend, I have a strong urge to drive to Bristol, TN/VA for the Rhythm and Roots Reunion, three days of all kinds of great music--but I also have Alabama-Duke football tickets.
Last weekend, I enjoyed a house concert up at Ticknock, listening to David Peterson and Charlie Cushman on the guitar and banjo with a roomful of other music lovers.
This week, though, my poetry-loving soul has been fed. I heard Antony Abbot and Jason Mott at Poetry Hickory at Taste Full Beans on Tuesday, and then last night I attended Lenoir-Rhyne's Visiting Writers Series, "An Evening of Poetry and Irish Music" with NC poet laureate Cathy Smith Bowers, Irish poet, Joan McBreen, and LRU's spring semester poet-in-resident Rhett Iseman Trull while listening to the Elf Tones' music.
From my own lit students, I recognize that so many people--even avid readers--are intimidated by poetry or simply dismiss it as "not for them." My own experience, though, indicates that like live music, live poetry, straight from the mouth of the poet, evokes a special response--whispered surprise, belly laughs, snickers, heads nodding in silent agreement. After hearing Cathy Smith Bowers' poem about her dog named for poet Seamus Heaney and her revelation that her dog had gotten custody of the pet, one of the women in the audience offered to help her get her dog back. (I don't suppose she simply planned to play a country song backwards.)
For now, I have some new volumes of poetry--a couple of full-sized books, a couple of chapbooks, kept nearby in the car. Instead of perusing the newspaper headlines at traffic lights or checking my text messages in waiting rooms, I think I'll have a poem or two.