Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Thank you all, for your advice. I did read some newer poems which, I think, the audience liked.

It was good to see my students and my colleagues at the reading last night. I was REALLY nervous before the reading and I felt a little unprepared.

I noticed some things which bothered me:

I don't know my own book. Yes, I wrote it and I lived with it for many years, but I don't know it. It's still a strange thing to me, and I'm sure that'll all change with more readings.

I felt that I read too fast and consequently, I fumbled my words in places.

I also felt that tonally, I need more variety. It's a really dark book. I mean, it's dark . . . especially when you look at it compared to NAMES ABOVE HOUSES. So . . . I'm trying to think of ways to add tonal variety. I don't want to force something into the "set list" that certainly doesn't belong, though.


I have time to tweak my performance. Next reading's on the 23rd at The Hugo House: Roots and Writers and another with Aimee Nezhukumatathil at Open Books.


barbara jane said...

Hi Ollie, well, congratulations on your first Furious Lullaby reading. I think it might be awkward for a good minute, which is cool. As you know, performing a new book is indeed a new body to your body, despite having lived with the poems (presumably in your head, or excerpted in prior readings) for such a long time.

I hear you about the dark tones, as I still experience it reading from Poeta, and still, I sometimes don't check myself from almost apologizing to the audience for possibly bringing them down. I say honor this dark, and let the loveliness and wonder of your previous work, and your newer work's possible lighter tones frame the dark. I think giving Furious Lullaby tonal variety to offset its darkness might not be true to that work? Or maybe there's irony to be had there in tone variation.

Eh, I'm just rambling now.

Nancy said...

I'm not a parent but . . . is it like that with a new baby? A little awkward "who are you" period. You might be still counting the toes on this book after delivery. I thought you did terrific at the reading & the new poems are great. I'd only suggest waiting one beat, one rest, when a poem is done before saying anything about it--so we get to keep that moment for just a bit. The woman next to me said "that was just like music!" when you finished the reading :)

Oliver de la Paz said...

Thanks you two. I was really really nervous, and I knew I was going too fast. I'll pause a bit longer for later readings.