Thinking on Poetry

I’ve been victimized by my children. Again! It’s always something. Sometimes it’s family stories where things are discussed in low tones, I’m usually present, but I’m pretending to nap. Well, I am napping, but I’m also awake!

I hear sighs and laughter, then I hear my name, em… title. “Then Daddy went berserk and yelled at us.” Apparently most of their young life was living with a berserker, a seething mound of lava with a thin crust. This is a narrative that is completely new to me. Okay, once I gave two of my daughters knives, and told them to completely end their hate filled bickering, but I did that in a very calm voice and manner.

Not all of the victimization is false narratives. Sometimes they do things “for my own good.” It’s always out of thoughtfulness and love. I appreciate that.

Recently my wife did something similar. She had heard of an audition for movie extras and thought that I might like that. I do not like that, I have never liked that and I have never been interested. I told her absolutely “No way!”, she told me the movie was Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road”. I paused.

Okay, I called the casting director, heard the speal and deadline, then I said no. My wife had called to promise that she would drive me to fitting, then told me the casting director almost cried. I called again to say yes, she did almost cry.

The long and the short of it was that I finally went, dressed up as a drunk beat poet from the 40s, sat in a bar for the last scene, and that was it. My fifteen seconds of fame. Later I was cut on the editing floor, and replaced by a shot of a typewriter. No beat poet for me, drunk or sober.

Even more recently another daughter volunteered me to a producer collecting readers of poetry. She told him that she was an actress, but that her father had God-like qualities to his voice. Well, it was true that I did play an offstage voice from above in a local community college play. I just call it my late night jazz FM voice.

My daughter asked me to follow up if I was interested. I hate it when I know, that they know, when I’m interested. So I called. I had a great conversation with a retired gentleman about my age, whose mission in life was to record English speaking poets. He believes that there is something extra special about the poem being read aloud. I completely agree.

So far he has enlisted the aid of about 50 readers, some of them published poets, all of them lovers of poetry. He suggested that I read Donald Hall. I think he would like me to record some of his. I’ve never heard of him, but I looked him up, and I really liked what I saw. I also told him I liked Richard Brautigan. He was somewhat shocked to remember him and agreed he should be recorded.

Okay, I’m on his contact list, I may show up at his recording studio.

The website is www.voetica.com. Please poke around and let me know your thoughts.

About johndiestler

Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
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