Bless their hearts, my department has just asked me to give the annual Gates Reading at Seattle Pacific University, this year. They had asked if I could recommend suitable candidates to bring to campus for the event, an endowed reading series named in honor of long-time educator Fan Mayhall Gates, and I dutifully furnished a list. X would be great. Oh, I wonder if we could get Y. Then, the reversal. We'd like you to give the reading this year, one of them said, and then, you're the right poet at the right time, which I just found, and find, so endearing.
If also a bit intimidating. I haven't any sense of the scale of this thing, or whether I can find that many people in and around Seattle who want to come hear my poems, but last year's reader was Suzanne Wolfe, who novel "Confessions of X" just won the CT Book of the Year award. Before that, Jennifer Maier, whose career I've watched since attending her first book's release party over ten years ago, and before that Gina Ochsner. As I say: daunting.
But what fun! Since they asked, it's all I can think about. Will my (current?) (former?) students come? Will friends from Northwest University make the great trek across the lake? Will the bookstore stock copies for sale at the reading, or should I bring them?
Because of the timing, this will act as the de facto book release party. We'll see how much the campus community comes out to support their fellows; I can't really surmise. The Roethke Memorial Reading Series at the University of Washington usually has people sitting in the aisles, but then, the last time I went the reader was Paul Muldoon, so. Meantime, I'd better design some posters. And pick some music to play beforehand as people file in. And make sure the book is indeed available by then.
Those of you in the Seattle area (and those with surpluses of airline miles) are most cordially invited to attend.