Many thanks to Dennis Wills, of DG Wills Books in La Jolla, California, where we had a terrific reading on Saturday night, July 7th. I’m so grateful to the many friends and family members who made their way to La Jolla on a cool, quiet Saturday. DG Wills Books is an amazing bookstore, packed from floor to ceiling with books on shelves jutting out in every direction. We packed chairs up and down each little aisle and folks stood as well. It was a rich experience for me.
Last Summer, poet & friend Jericho Brown introduced me to Dennis Wills, who has owned and run this independent bookstore for 32 years. Once Meeting Bone Man was published, Dennis was generous and gracious in making this reading possible.
We had lots of good conversation after the reading– about artistic process, the source for political poems, the good which poetry can do in the world. To me, these are all deeply important ideas. I described the beginnings of D.C. Poets Against the War and how the group then bloomed into the Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness. My friend, Sarah Browning, found of D.C. Poets Against the War and Split This Rock would have been happy.
Many folks there told me it was the first time they’d ever been to a poetry reading. In some ways, that gave me great hope. Perhaps, after this positive experience, they will seek out these gatherings in their own communities. Perhaps they will start them.
Poetry has such power. It can heal, just by naming and reminding, even if what it names is painful. Poetry can change minds and hearts. Many of us know this from deep within our own souls.
This was a reading and an evening I will remember for a long time. Many thanks.