Book Launch at West Chester

book launch
No, I’m not naked

I would be remiss if I didn’t post a link to the guest blog entry I wrote this morning for Books, Inq., which summarizes my Day 1 of the conference.

However, since then time has moved on apace, and this afternoon as a book launch I gave my own featured reading from Sisters & Courtesansimmediately prior to the participant readings. We had a blast!

If in Doubt, Show Some Skin?

Allison Joseph introduced me, and I was touched and honored that she had actually written a sonnet in response to the book, which she read. Then I dived in. I had decided to organize the reading a little differently from usual, in that I normally read the poems chronologically (as the book is sequenced) but today I began with four “sisters” poems (“Anglo-Saxon Novitiate,” “Polish Nun During World War II,” “Russian Orthodox Nun,” and “French Carmelite Nun”–always fun in my flighty French accent!)

Next I said, “Excuse me while I change,” turned my back on the audience, removed the black duster cardigan I had on to reveal a flirty strapless dress, and shook my hair out of its pony tail. Then I read four “courtesans” poems (“Serving Wench,” “May Queen of Beltane,” “Victorian Streetwalker,” and “Gangster’s Moll.”

I think everyone enjoyed that, but the loveliest thing was that so many of the participants who had signed up for the subsequent Open Mic were friends of mine who took some time to reference me in their chat. Heidi Czerwiec chided me for stealing the “sexy-selfie” as cover photo, Rick Mullin shook out his own pony tail (although he wouldn’t remove his shirt!) and David Katz read his “Haikoum for James Dean”—-a form I invented one bored National Poetry Month—-to name a few.

By the way, as of last time I checked I had sold 18 copies in the West Chester Book Store! Better get yours soon—they’re going fast!

Read the Sisters & Courtesans self-interview.

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