Sunday, September 28, 2008

To MSPS Convention and Back

TLuxReturned last night from the Missouri State Poetry Society Convention in Springfield, MO. It was a whirlwind trip down and back with the president of our local chapter, Missi Rasmussen in the Poet Mobil. Missi drove her yellow PT Cruiser and while we were at one of the secessions a reference was made to another local poet who drove the car preferred by poets everywhere. Yep, the PT Cruiser. Who knew? 

There were two exceptional guests who read their work. Thomas Lux pictured here and Michael Burns.

Lux was educated at Emerson College and the University of Iowa.  He was the poet in residence at Emerson College, 1972-75. He was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Poetry in addition to National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Fellowship.

Burns is a retired MSU Professor whose work has appeared in a number of top rate literary journals including Kenyon Review, Paris Review, and The Southern Review. In 1995 he won an NEA fellowship. 

Burns did a group workshop an I found him to be a very down to earth instructor. I liked his teaching style. He is someone who really seems to enjoy helping others with their poetry and has a personality that is as genuine as it is rich with humor.

I knew I recognized Thomas Lux by name, but could not place him. That was until he began to read The Refrigerator, 1957.  I didn't recognize it by name, but it didn't take long for me to realize this was the infamous Maraschino cherries poem.  I first saw this poem maybe 5 or 6 years ago and loved it.

"...right of the middle of the middle door shelf, on fire, a lit-from-within red, heart red, sexual red, wet neon red, shining red in their liquid, exotic, aloof, slumming in such company: a jar of maraschino cherries. Three-quarters full, fiery globes, like strippers at a church social. Maraschino cherries, maraschino, the only foreign word I knew. Not once did I see these cherries employed: not in a drink, nor on top of a glob of ice cream,"

It all went by so fast, but it was a worthwhile trip and it's too bad more of our local people could nit make the trip down.


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