Until I began writing poetry I didn't attend many readings. I was as oblivious to the aural beauty as any other citizen. I read it. I can't say I was a great explorer, but I always had a copy of Rilke, Stevens, Dickenson on hand. However, between the time I was an undergraduate, finishing up my education at Cal-State L.A., and the time I lived in Seattle and had begun writing, I didn't go to readings.
You have to understand. I'm still just waking up. I write this as I think about seeing poets Czeslaw Milosz, Adrienne Rich and many others read at Kane Hall at the University of Washington in Seattle. I wasn't a student. I was a poet.
The first college I attended never had such events. St. John's College in Santa Fe. Euripides and Dante were no shows. At Cal-State I heard (and still remember) Creeley. Larry Leavis. Not sure if there were any women poets I saw but I was reading Diane Wakowski, whose work I adored, and others.
I was and continue to be a half-asleep consumer. There worlds around me, especially here in New York, I am unaware of, until I become aware of them. And sometimes I become aware of worlds and poets who'll have no part of me, who'll welcome me to their readings but never show up for mine. That's more often the case than not and, yes, I'm bitter.
But also I'm curious about the next awakening, the next dawn, the next step towards a godhead. Because for me, if a poet doesn't move me in that direction (and I'm guilty of creating detours, too), I lose interest.
All over the place? It's a good one, this place. As they say, I'm on it.