by Erica German
It was a packed house for the kickoff of the spring reading series, put on by the Butte College Literary Events Committee. Every chair in the room was occupied, extra chairs were needed, people sat on the floor and in the windowsills. Once the crowd settled in, the poetry began with Amy Antongiovanni’s “First Base,” in which she described passionate expressions of love as they are first discovered. Having captured the audience with intimacy made public, she then carried her listeners through her thoughts on anorexia by reading “Self Portrait at 19,” and then shared her dreams, reading, “In My Dreams, Everyone is Either Dying or Getting a Divorce.” She ended with “Heart,” a poem about heartbreak.
While Antongiovanni’s poetry revealed personal experiences and thoughts, Heather Fisher would wow us in an entirely different way with her poem “Tinkering,” a look at what Henry Ford might be thinking about his invention if he could see its effects. She followed this with a poem about “Houdini at Forty,” which elucidated the magician’s thoughts during his attempt to escape from one of his imprisoning getups. She also read, “The Drowning,” sobering listeners with the story of a girl who met her end in a cold river. She ended by reciting “In the Country of Fallen Things.” This poem about a dibbuk, which according to Jewish folklore is an evil spirit that wreaks all kinds of havoc when it takes up residence in an individual, had spine shivering capabilities that rivaled words penned by the great poet, Edgar Allen Poe.
Kiara Koenig broke the eerie cloud with a humorous discussion about what poetry is and what it should be, concluding it is and should be, “…all that, and a bag of chips.” She followed with “Owing Beauty to No One.” It was her “Blue Stone Kiss” which amused all with thoughts about kissing the Blarney Stone, and whether Irish men “piss” on it. Responding to whether or not one should kiss the stone, the poem ends with this emphatic statement, “It’s good for you…tis.” (The crowd laughs) The evening ended on a more serious note with Koenig’s “Welcome to Section Eight,” a poem honoring one person’s struggle with terminal/mental illness and poverty.
The only thing missing from the evening was an announcement of the date for Wordfire, the upcoming writing conference that will be on April 28th—don’t forget to add this date to your calendar. There will be writing workshops to suit all your needs, from poetry and nature writing, to screenwriting and non-fiction. For more information, check out buttewordfire.org. And, if you missed the most recent reading in the series which was on March 8th, hopefully you will be able to make it to hear Troy Jollimore, Susan Wooldridge, and Rob Davidson on April 10th. Here’s to those generous writers who continuously bare their souls for readers everywhere.