Overheard at the Writer's Conference

(for Tania)

"We're like lacemakers, 
a lost art of lovely life
going, going, gone.
Gone the way of quilting bees
and fireside readings of
"Gone with the Wind."
Gone, like all hope of 
any kind of spring
after this bone-chilling winter."

But the earth softens,
trumpeting daffodils,
splitting crocuses
and color comes up,
all green like new money.

"Why, I made $9.00 in royalties
last year. Nine whole dollars.
People actually paid to read my work."

"There are college poetry
readings to come," B. added.
("If only we could put the fun
back in fundraising,")
and a guy in the hall at work
mumbled like a private eye,
"I read your poems in that 
They're good."

Little by little,
the earth of words is thawing.
We keep tilling,
trowels in hand, our 
eyes on the sky and light coming
down, warming our verses
to show the way to Spring.

I had the privilege last month of sitting down for coffee with 4 poets after a panel at the AWP Conference in Seattle. This poem is a distillation of the conversation, written on the endpapers of  "How to Read a Poem", by Tania Runyan and
published by Tweetspeak Poetry.   

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