Monday, July 22, 2013

Poet Max Garland

When I begin to feel I have used up all my subjects for poems, when the lines I do write sound so completely "like me" that I am unsurprised and unenthused to see them, when I begin to feel distant entirely from poetry, I count it high time to get myself to a good poetry reading. How happy I was, then, to hear Rhinelander poet Brent Goodman and, particularly, WI Poet Laureate Max Garland read tonight. I taught at UW-Eau Claire with Max, and we exchanged poetry upon my arrival, so I knew I was in for a treat. I knew Max has a fabulous quick wit with an eye for the satirical--to the end that, I think, everyone in the department made sure to open emails from Max, as they were sure to be entertaining. I knew he is deeply contemplative and spiritual, drawing inspiration from, among other poets, the brilliant monk/poet Thomas Merton. I knew what I was in for, and I was not disappointed. Max Garland's work reads well aloud. It is accessible and yet surprising, with hit-the-nail-on-the-head word choice that, frankly, just makes me happy to listen to. Hearing him reminded me what I love about poetry, and it made me want to go write.

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