WordPlay, Scriv, and poems for Jill

December 8, 2007

Tonight‘s WordPlay reading at Papyri Books — actually at the Papyri Books annex, a long railcar of a space lined with exposed brick and festooned with Christmas lights — featured three writers from Scriv, Inkberry’s MCLA student writers’ group. It was a packed-house event — once all the chairs were full, people clustered in the back, sat in the floor on the aisles, and commandeered all of the step-stools from next door to use as extra seats.

The reading was a good chance to get a sense for some of what the Scriv students are up to. All three of the readers shared really interesting work. (I think my favorite piece was the third one, a delicious little piece of speculative fiction that seemed to be set in our own universe except for the part where it was possible to record a day of one’s life and to give to someone else.)

It was also Inkberry’s chance to say thank you to Jill, who’s been our executive director since August of 2006. Linda (the president of the board) and I both spoke — which was nicely symmetrical, since I worked closely with Jill when she first came on board and Linda worked closely with her during her E.D. tenure — and each of us read a poem in her honor.

Linda read W.S. Merwin‘s Berryman, which has one of the best endings of any poem I know:

I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can’t

you can’t you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don’t write

And I read Thomas’ Lux‘s “An Horatian Notion,” which is one of my very favorite poems about writing (and about creativity in general) — I’ve had it tacked up over my desk for years. I love the poem so much I’ll repost it here, beneath the extended-entry link — a few people asked for a copy, at the reading, so here ’tis.

A thousand thanks, again, to Jill, for doing an overwhelming and consuming job with so much passion and heart.

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