Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Last Thursday night at the Fresno Art Museum, I read seven poems before turning over the stage to the Armen Nalbandian Trio and then Nino Moschella and the Little Big People. All of the poems will be in my first book, This Many Miles from Desire, out next June. I had read most of them in public several times, but that night was the first time I read what I consider one of just a handful of love poems (specifically) I have ever written. It's called "Rurrenebaque," named for the small Bolivian town where my wife and I went anaconda hunting. It is a relatively thin poem about walking through the pampas on the lookout for anacondas, and I capture this vision of my wife---sweating from the heat, her camera slung around her neck, in her element and beautiful. I don't know how the audience received it, but it felt good to read. I will have to try a little more of that. By the way, if you are looking for good music to buy as gifts, check out Armen Nalbandian and Nino Moschella. It was also good to see Devoya Mayo, host of the great radio program Move On Up.
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My wife and I and daughter are spending five days in New York City this winter break. Looking forward to that.
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Oh, and those of you in and around Fresno, mark your calendars now: Amy Tan will be reading and speaking at Fresno City College at noon on February 12, 2007. Visit her website to remind yourself of her impact and to read an entertaining article in which she dispels many of the myths surrounding her life and work.

7 comments:

Samurai said...

Nice to meet you! I've started my blog about Japanese culture arts. I appriciate if you link to my site since I would like many people to know Japanese culture. Thank you!

jenni said...

Hey Lee, I really enjoy love poems, I don't think enough are written anymore, or they are too ironic or something. I bet yours are great. I'd like to read them sometime.

Lee Herrick said...

Sure, Samurai. Good luck with your blog.

Jenni, thank you for that. I agree (I like them, too)...but I don't know if mine are all that great. Some feel better than others, you know? I'll try to think of something to backchannel you or post here.

sume said...

Hey Lee, it's nice to know that poets haven't given up on love poems. They're so difficult to write without falling into old cliche's.

I hope you and your family have a great time in New York!

julie kim said...

Well, I must say that I'm upset I missed your reading at the FAM, heard it was wonderful. Hmm, I'd actually like to see Amy Tan-even though she got raked through the coals a bit in my Asian Diasporic class...

Lee Herrick said...

Sume, thanks. And yes, they're tough. "Rurrenebaque" was written without love in mind, actually, so maybe that's why it eventually felt like a true love poem---it lacked the overt desire to express that emotion (which is often a bad starting point to begin with, at least in my case). Hope all's well with you!

Julie, hey there..! It's been a while. I ran into Miriam yesterday (and cute little Sophia) and your name came up, and here you are! How's the Bay Area? Let me know when you're in town and if you want to grab some coffee.

Yes, I know of the (often valid) Tan criticisms. She's coming to Fresno on a grant from the Fresno County Library, and we (City College) are co-sponsoring her visit. It's a pretty fascinating dynamic, her career projectory and myths surrounding her life and work. I am looking forward to meeting her (let me know if you want to attend the reception), although I fully appreciate people's issues with the work.

julie kim said...

Yes she sent me a note, I had no idea your little girls were only two months apart! Too cute, I'll be back for a month after the 14th so I'll send you an e-mail. I'm about to emark on my final paper right now...and yes, I would love to go to the reception :P see you soon.