Friday, April 4, 2008

Lips Reading

Last night I participated in a group reading to celebrate the publication of the most recent issue of Lips.

The journal was founded twenty-eight years ago by current editor Laura Boss. This issue is a memorial to poet Michael Benedikt, long-time friend and companion to Laura.

A terrific crowd of about 60 people turned out for the reading which included 16 poets from the issue. Although there was the background noise typically found at a B & N reading, we had nice big comfy chairs, coffee and cookies, and a microphone that worked reasonably well.

Laura began the evening by welcoming the audience and speaking about Michael's involvement in the journal's history. She then invited several poets to read tribute poems to Michael or a poem by Michael.

Jim Gwyn read the following tribute poem by Robert Bly who was one of Michael's close friends. The tribute was followed by readings by 16 of the poets who appear in this issue. It was a lovely evening, full of good memories, visits with friends, and poetry.

It Takes So Long to Finish a Poem

(for Michael)

My hand remembers stroking a sleek bird years ago, one which
was crouching under my fingers, longing for the sky roof on top
of the cabin roof, the forgiveness high in the air.

As for me, I have given so many hours to the ecstasy of detail,
the shadow of a closing door, the final syllable of that poem
which is already gone, looking back over its shoulder.
Well, well . . . Sometimes in our slow hours a child climbs down
into this world.

—Robert Bly


  1. What a great turnout I so wanted to be there. I'm glad for Laura and all involved that it went so well.

  2. Is that your poem, Diane? Or is this the Bly? I really love it, light touch to the metaphor, wonderful final image!

  3. Thanks for the question, Marie. The poem is Bly's. I just went back in and clarified that.


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