from the diary: “Wednesday 5/6/87
“We dint have Creative Writing today. Nope. Emblen passed out First Leaves and introduced our new teach. Emblen having neck surgery Thurs – tomorrow. Gad. He been warned he could have stroke any time. Not sure what [the surgeon is] doing – excising blood clot? … After handing out and introductions he bade us all adieu – had some things to do – and we all dispersed.”
I did not record the new teacher’s full name in my diary. All I have is “Marty.” In some ways I liked her better than Emblen. But this has been true of all my teachers. I doubt I could put together a perfect package.
5/10: “[T]omorrow at noon gotta read some poetry – combined Eng. awards & First Leaves. In Plover Library. Remember to take lunch.”
5/13: “Monday I read two poems – the two that were in First Leaves. Jen & Damon & a friend of his came, too. I read tenth or something. Damon was happy that he didn’t have to read for his English award.”
I remember Damon squirming about the possibility of his having to read his work in public. I didn’t get it. Heck, I like to perform. It’s one of the reasons I got into poetry in the first place. I would read a play and try to imagine myself in one of the roles, but I knew I wasn’t much of an actor. The acting I did in grammar & high school left me unsatisfied, but I did enjoy the audience. Frankly, I often didn’t like what the playwright wanted me to say. When I learned I could perform my own words, that one wasn’t just limited to reading aloud to the class but that there were venues for poets to stand up and speak, well, it was a serious selling point on my becoming a poet.