It’s hard to know where to begin with all the news about Solace in So Many Words so I will start by reporting on the latest readings, which were held last week. On Monday, December 5 we read at Evanston Public Library. My thanks go to Russell Johnson of Readers’ Services and Lesley Williams, Director of Adult Services, at Evanston Public Library.
As has been the case at other readings, I forgot to take pictures though the camera was sitting in my bag. About 30 people were in the audience at the Community Room where the acoustics were great. Mentioning how her essay is even more meaningful to her now because her mother passed away this year, Paula W. Peterson read “Coconut Milk,” which recounts Paula and her mother’s trip to the juice bar at Marshall Field’s. Joan Corwin then read from “Details” and, as at past readings, the audience laughed aloud at Evan Rhys and his nighttime foray. Carol Kanter read two of her poems (“Her Best Medicine” and “The Advanced Course”) and her daughter Jodi Kanter’s “High-End Grocery Solace.” The phrase that always gets to me from that poem is “the soft, white peace of cheese.” I will remember this when I’m tempted to dismiss something as cheesy. I read Susan Spaeth Cherry’s poem “Predictabilties.” It seemed appropriate for the season since it begins,”Cottonwood trees / paste Santa beards / on window screens.”
Kathleene Donahoo read from “Starts and Stops.” When I envision Darlene who is one of the main characters in this story, I can picture her at this time of year because Kathy describes her this way: “The day after Thanksgiving, she’s sporting her Christmas ornament shirt, a metallic marvel of glimmering gold balls and tineselly stars. This alternates with her Santa Claus and reindeer shirts until early January.” Can’t you picture her too?
Pamela Miller read two poems. The first was Laura Rodley’s “Addicted,” which was the first time it has been read at an event. The audience, like I was the first time I read it, were zinged by its opening: “My horses are my opium, my anisette, my cheroort, my cinnamon sugar . . . . ” Then Pamela read her own, “What It’s All About,” which is a love poem she wrote to her husband on their anniversary. Oh, don’t we all want to hear music pealing from the carillon of passion?
D. J. Lachance came all the way from Milwaukee to read “Nagasaki Shadows” and I was left thinking about his nurse’s observation that “Everything we are exposed to casts a shadow.”
This past Sunday, December 11, we read at Woman Made Gallery, a place that is close to my heart. Several contributors to Solace in So Many Words are connected to me through WMG. And as I told the audience, when I was in the early planning stages and visualized readings for this book, I couldn’t always know what the bookstore would be or where I would celebrate the launch, but I always could see us reading at Woman Made Gallery. So it was gratifying to see my dream come true. A bonus was learning that the reading would be recorded (thanks to Kurt Eric Heintz) for the WBEZ’s Chicago Amplified. I will be sure to let you all know when you can listen to it.
Leading off was Kathleen Kirk. She took the train in from Normal, IL, with her mother and several friends. Though I had known of Kathleen through her work on Rhino magazine, it was through Woman Made that I became friends with her and Pamela Miller because ten years ago we were all published in WMG’s 2002 Datebook and we read together then. As a matter of fact, poems from that reading on October 21, 2001 are still up on WMG’s site. For Kathleen, books have been (and continue to be) a solace and she read from her essay “The Solace of Reading: How to Survive te Homonal and Spiritual Upheavals of Midlife.” Pamela Miller was next and in addition to her own work, she read Elizabeth Kerlikowske’s poem “The Industry of Sleep.” Elizabeth has a WMG connection with me and also she had four poems (“Mother’s Day,” “Ramifications of Early Loss,” ” Size 12,” and “Holiday”) in Kiss Me Goodnight. Jan Bottiglieri and I also have WMG connection so I read her poem “Why You Knit.” Joan Corwin read from “Details” and had us all chuckling at Evan Rhys. Carol Kanter read “The Advanced Course” and “Her Best Medicine.” Each time I hear that poem, I love Vonda a little bit more. She also read the poem by her daughter, Jodi Kanter, “High-End Grocery Solace.” Kathy Donahoo read from “Stops & Starts”. D. J. Lachance spoke about the literature of war and read “Nagasaki Shadows.” J. Scott Smith read from “Heartbeat” and the audience got to know Buck and Bitsy. It was a great reading and I look forward to when you can hear it for yourself. Stay tuned!
Thanks to Nina Corwin who coordinates the lit programs at WMG. Also big thanks and appreciation to Beate Minkovski, WMG director who works tirelessly for the gallery and its artists. As I mentioned on Sunday, WMG has had four locations and lots of other changes since it was first begun but one constant has been Beate, and it is because of her that I feel so close and indebted to Woman Made Gallery. Thanks also to my sisters Terry Marino and Kathy Elster for selling books at these events. Here are some photos from WMG.