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america's emerging poets
Tour Moments:  February 23 through March 3, 2007

Arrived Columbia, SC on Thursday, Feb. 22nd and met two life-long [from that day forward] friends, Tina and Richard.  You know that old query about which came first, the chicken or the egg?  The question alters but is no less puzzling when presented as: Which came first, Southern Hospitality or Tina and Richard Eib?  Love them, love their home--not just the structure but the architecture of warmth and laughter, gentility and humor these lovely friends possess.  I wasn't fast enough with my camera to snap a picture of the cardinal that landed on a bare February branch not 3 feet away from where I stood outside their home, so the cranky-looking clipart replica on the right will have to do as I try to describe, not only the bird, but the color of "welcome" I felt during my few days there. 

Friday, February 23 -- 10:00 AM, , Columbia, SC, Cardinal Newman High School Library. Performance for Students.  Oh my, oh my . . . first reading, and the library was jam-packed with students.  Students before me, on either side as far as the room expanded, students behind me . . . students everywhere . . . and all eyes on this country bumpkin poet.  The librarian (I must find her name and send her a personal thank you) asked questions of my writing process, extremely helpful!  But it was those moments of direct connection with the eyes of one student or another with mine, with my words and lines that made the day for me.  To know you've connected on some level of experience or understanding with another human being, despite the differences in age, background, cultures, gender, etc. is quite extraordinary (and such a surprise).

12:00 PM, Convention Center, Columbia, SC; set up for South Carolina Book Fair  -- ah, yes, well . . . the "set-up" didn't quite happen as planned.  The times for set up as posted on the book fair's website went later than the actual time allowed . . . consequently, set up took place the next morning.  Leo, Tina and I purchased props for our display -- a few mirrors, some box cubes and table easels, black spray paint -- and the parking lot at the Whitney Hotel became our "paint zone."  

On Sunday, our books and display were still available for viewing with the table sitters Tina and Richard arranged for us.  Leo, Tina, Maggie and I were off to Savannah on Sunday and a book reading at The Book Lady on Liberty Street.  Ron Wallace, out of Durant, Oklahoma, would join us there in Savannah as well.  But, I get ahead of myself!  Below is a shot of Tina selling Leo at the SC Book Festival.  And on the far right is a shot of The Whitney Hotel (the photo does nothing for the beauty and elegance of this lovely hotel).

On Saturday evening at 7:30 PM,  Readings by America's Emerging Poets, took place at The Whitney Hotel,  "Meeting Room", Columbia, SC.  What a hoot!  Poetry, Food, Fun, with readings by  ---> me, Leo, Tina, and Maggie Flannigan-Wilke!  Of course Tina wowed the crowd of about 52 folks with her southern voice and style; Leo was dynamic and terrific (if a bit too long in his introductory prefaces to each poem) (nevermind that he continually chided me about my intro's being too, too brief!); but for me, Maggie Wilke stole the show, stole my heart -- what a poetess!  My greatest hope is that she will "focus" her energies [which are profound and many] and get that first book of collected works published . . .

I met and talked with Larry Jordan, a Columbia resident and fellow poet at Poetry Circle -- great guy, and such a pleasure.  I met and talked with some folks who had picked up a flier at the SC book festival and joined us.  We sold a few books; ate well; laughed hard; and laughed even heartier later up in our room with Tina's accomplice in all this (talk about a hoot!), lovely lady who had "grain alcohol and cranberry juice" just right there for me, should I feel the need . . .

On Sunday we made our way to Savannah (not without a few switchbacks and turnarounds) and arrived at 6 Liberty Street and The Book Lady for a reading and reception just in the nick of time. 

Meanwhile, Ron Wallace was stranded in No. Carolina due to horrific dust storms in Texas that messed with flights everywhere . . . Although I am glad to say he made Savannah in time to join us for dinner that night at The Pirate's House.   For Savannah Side Stories, Click Here.


And then my camera died, well, at least the batteries died and my photo journal died with them until after I made NY.  Very quickly I will just add that Charleston may have been my favorite city -- I would go back in a heartbeat and spend much more time exploring and seeing, dining and taking it all in.  Loved Atlanta, too, but mostly what I saw there was the inside of the Hilton and the AWP conference -- magic times. 

























The view down the walkway of steps;
these lead to our bed and breakfast rooms.
Click on photo for "Savannah Side Stories."

Ron Wallace and Maggie Wilke,
Savannah b & b






Text Box: In Savannah,

ferns grow up 
from the biceps of oaks,
from step faces
and stones
ferns grow.

  Brooklyn, NY: [stay tuned for pics and updates!]
March 5-12, 20007, touring tenement museums, waterfront venues, Nathan's, Prospect Park [rats! missed it], and areas
of interest pertaining to the life and times circa 1909-1937, particularly for vaudeville and aquatic park enter-
On the left, Erin, Karin, Buddy, me
posing for Charley the bartender at
the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club to
snap us in all our casual glory. 

On the right, red stairs up to one of
the many brownstones -- 100's of
coats of paint, chipping and aged.  No ferns growing out of them as they did in Savannah, but, ah, beautiful, all the same.  Dream time now is to spend a year on the right coast-- half in Charleston and the other half in Brooklyn.


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