Next Wednesday, I’ll be taking the stage opposite one of our national poetry treasures, C.K. Williams, in the event Page Meets Stage at the Bowery Poetry Club, NYC.
Created to explore the question, “Where does poetry live?” Page Meets Stage features challenging pairings of poets with spoken word artists. The series is curated by Taylor Mali and held in New York City’s Bowery Poetry Club. Past pairings include: C.D. Wright and Bob Holman, Tony Hoagland and Anis Mojgani, Dorianne Laux and Shira Erlichman, and Billy Collins and Taylor Mali. Read more about past pairings and watch video at the PMS Blog.
Despite the obvious honor and thrill of being paired to read with a great, contemporary poet, I have also found myself paired with anxiety. C.K. Williams is a Pulitzer prize winner and professor at Princeton University. Not just because of his accolades, but because of his work, his application of simplicity and the strength of his voice, I’m intimidated to read with C.K. Williams.
This week, my artist self want to shrink, to hide behind humble deference. How do I plan to handle this challenge? I am reminding myself that my job is to serve the audience. As the poet representing the “Stage” side of the show, I have a duty to represent one of the best lessons of performance poetry: as performers, we have a responsibility to the people listening to our work.The audience doesn’t want to watch me act small or participate in my self-doubt. So, in one week, I plan to bring my whole, flawed self to the stage at the Bowery Poetry Club and fearlessly allow myself to be seen.