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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In search of poetry

Yesterday I drove down to Danville to hear Jane Hirshfield read her poetry. I didn't want to get stuck in traffic so I left really early and had a few hours to spare before the reading. I don't know if you have ever been to Danville, but it is super cute. Lots of little shops and restaurants, salons and even an equestrian shop on the main street I didn't get shots of everything, but I managed to snap a few before the sun got too low on the horizon.

I especially loved the little shops with funky names -- like "Snicker Doodle" (below), and the traditional barber shop with the red and blue striped sign outside, just like when I was a kid.

I had dinner in a superb restaurant called "Sideboard" that made hot chocolate using house-made chocolate and their own, in-house marshmallows. My spinach salad had fresh blueberries and strawberries scattered generously through it, and was topped with feta. The dressing was vanilla pear vinaigrette, and when I asked for salt, my waiter brought hand-ground pink Himalayan salt crystals to my table.

I also came across this very interesting looking building that had a sign on it saying it was a hotel, but it did not look to be used much....although there were odd curtain-looking things hanging in the back windows of what seemed to be an abandoned building. Kind of eerie, to be honest.

You can see the curtains better up close.

And this door, on the ground floor, caught my attention. Beautiful, isn't it?

I finally meandered over to the reading, helped set up the chairs, and got myself a seat in the front row. There were only maybe 15 or 20 of us there, which created a very intimate atmosphere. I got to ask her how to finally master line breaks in my poetry (her answer: practice, practice, practice -- and think of it as music), and I was immersed in the world of presence, silence and the precision of words placed just so by a hand and mind that has been perfecting the skill of crafting poetry for a very long time.

I drove home late at night with the lights of traffic red and white against the blackness feeling immensely blessed to have gotten to heard Jane read. There are few things quite as inspiring to a poet as listening to a fellow poet who has spent years mastering the craft of stringing words together just so, to form a poem. Jane has certainly done that, over and over, and her new book, Come, Thief is a tender, deep collection that invites the reader to draw closer and listen with a greater degree of attention, to the world around us, and our own hearts.

It is late now. Tomorrow morning I have to be up early and out on the Soil Born Farm working with a group of second graders that are coming out on a field trip. I cannot wait! I hope you have a superb Thursday, friends! See you here Friday before another long, glorious weekend!

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