Chad Heltzel picked a perfect venue for a poetry reading: Open Books. This spacious bookstore packed with second-hand books, located near the Chicago Brown Line stop, is a part of a larger organization that provides literacy programs, and Chad had apparently stumbled upon them on his way to the gym one day. Like a lot of literary events in which Chad has been involved, this too had a great turnout, and Open Books helped make it a success by creating and disseminating posters, placing ads, and even getting the event announced on NPR.
It was the Little Red Leaves event, and since the journal is online and its editors scattered around the country, the Chicago reading was one of many designed to promote the journal and its contributors.
Now I wish I wrote this the day after the reading, because, here’s the problem: there were two awesome poets, one opened and one closed the night. Their names? Judith Goldman and Laura Goldstein. I don’t know which face goes with which name anymore. Idiot me.
Also awesome was Brain Mornar, but I am not confusing him with anyone now, almost a week later, because he was the only man reading, plus the remaining two poets featured were Ixta Menchaca Rosa and Tasha Fouts Marren, my UIC buddies. I was coming back from a great Good Apples practice, in a good mood. After I realized that most of the poems I picked for the night had an element of humor in it, I decided to try to play it up by my delivery. It worked! My fave that night—yes, I’m being biased, but I don’t think it’s only my love for the girl—Tasha Marren. Her poems deal manly with fear and language. In equal measures: language is not used to depict only fear, but also itself, until one theme embodies the other. And this is not just an interpretation, my reading of what goes on in her poems; it’s what the poet intends, and then executes masterfully. Kudos! (Tasha didn’t want anyone to review the reading, and I didn’t even mean to, but what the hell, she’s not the boss of me.)