So last night I went to the VONA open mic at the cafe at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley and got my VONA fix, along with all the other 2005 alums that came through. Although the energy in the room wasn't as hyped as it was during my VONA week at USF, it was still beautiful and palpable, a feeling of warm writerly cameraderie and kinship that I don't think I've ever felt in any other group in my life.
Of course, there were lots of beautiful brown folks in the room, and I got to hang with my novel homies E. and R., who are going through VONA withdrawal too. We got to hear some slammin' poetry and prose from our fellow VONA alums and others, including a woman who read an 'Elegy for Iris Chang which was particularly moving. I wondered how many folks in the room knew who Iris Chang was; I hope the woman's poem inspires them to find out.
Checked-in with my fellow novelists about how their writing is going; everyone seems to be doing a little something-something, but everyone said they were missing the VONA vibe. I've been doing well, trying to write for an hour a day, which was the goal I set at VONA, and it's working out so far.
Got to hear some poetry from fellow activist-author M., who read a moving piece about her mother, who recently passed away. Even K.'s little girl, V., who is in the sixth grade, read some of her poems. It's lovely to hear a child read their own poems, crafted with so much sincerity and the clarity that only a child can have about life.
Ran into a bunch of folks, including some Frisco heads whom I was pleasantly surprised to see on this side of the bay, since I just moved here and thought I wouldn't be seeing them for a while. And then afterwards, we went to Luka's Lounge on Broadway and Grand, which I think may become a new kick-it spot for me. Nice decor, beautiful people, good drinks, even some fancy food (I'm a bit of a food snob, don't you know). Grooved to DJs Fuze and VNA breakin' it down on the 1's and 2's.
Now, back to more moving and unpacking. Ah, the real world.
Poetry Saturday: Frederick Seidel
7 hours ago