Friday, September 30, 2005

For example

After posting "To Kolob," I said good-bye to Tolkien Boy and Eleka, who were only one computer removed from myself in the computer lab, and marched my way down the library stairs to the basement for the English reading series. Today's offering was Kim Johnson, who I think I can safely say is a genius. She is a poet who has deep, deep roots in the classical tradition, who graduated from Iowa, Johns Hopkins, and Berkeley, and who is flat out brilliant. Why she is also a professor at the Y, I can't really tell you. I'm just glad she's here.

With excited anticipation, I found a seat in the library auditorium--my regular seat on the third row, seven seats in on the south side was taken, but I happily settled into the fifth row, glad to see so many people already at the reading. Until they started to talk. They seemed young, all of them. I glanced back at a guy I had recognized when I walked in and realized that he was the "Mr. Rich" a few of the girls were talking about. He had brought his English 11 class to the reading series. Not just any reading, though. Kim Johnson--a woman who is intense, precise, clinical, brilliant. What the hell was he thinking?

I managed a quick rant to JeffT when he arrived, then relaxed back into my seat as John Talbot began his introduction. I appreciated the symmetry--Kim had intro'd Talbot when he read winter semester. He praised her, compared her to Milton, discussed her roots to the seventeenth century and Latin (what he called "the dear departed language of precision"). I've never seen Kim embarrassed before, but this was close. And then Talbot wrapped up and Kim walked to the speaker's podium.

When Kim reads, she enunciates every syllable. The emphasis and energy is exhausting just for her listener. She is amazing on a million levels. The way she plays with language is fascinating. I sat, literally on the edge of my seat, so intent on the poetry that I didn't realize I was smiling. At the end of the reading, Jeff made the comment that he'd never seen me that happy. I don't think I often am that happy; words, language, poetry invigorate me, make me feel alive like nothing else can. I get such a rush from poetry--maybe I'm a little crazy.

The after-reading was good too. Talk to my brilliant friends, and then JeffT asked if I'd read his short story. I'm not sure how I got the rep I have as a good critical reader/editor, but reading a well-written story and commenting on it comes just behind hearing Kim Johnson read her poetry. This is what I live for. eg

P.S. I forgot about the high school juniors I introduced at the beginning of this post--kind of like I forgot about them as the reading went on. They actually behaved very well and some of them seemed really intent on the poetry. And I did know "Mr. Rich." He's very good looking. Not to undermine the euphoria of this post, but why can't I meet a guy who makes me feel like I'm at a poetry reading? How's that for decent criteria?

7 comments:

Master Fob said...

I hope you aren't using someone's real name in your blog. If this is the same Jeff we spoke of last night, we (meaning Theric and I) like to refer to him as "Jeph" in order to keep his identity secret. If it's another Jeff he'll have to come up with his own codename.

Master Fob said...

The first "we" meaning "you and I (and incidentally Tolkien Boy)."

editorgirl said...

Not the same Jeff. I would never reveal his identity. . . as you just did. ;)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was totally there and saw you. HAHAHAHA, I feel like such a stalker but I had to jet off to class afterwards.

KapkaVictim said...

Isn't it nice that the juniors enjoyed it? Poetry is for everyone. You can't chase them off or else no one'll be there.

Th. said...

.

You have just described one of my most missed elements of the BYU experience.

editorgirl said...

Meaning the one you missed the most or the you now miss most?

 

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