I am learning to trust and believe in random spontaneity!
Although I have been blessed with many friends, since I have committed to writing full time I have been painfully aware that I have few friends who are poets with whom I could converse.
The stars aligned perfectly last week when something wonderful happened. And then things just kept getting randomly better and better…
I had just gotten five copies of the final draft of my first book of poems, An Accidental Diary, from Kerry Sharda, my wonderful book designer. All of a sudden, the prospect of publishing became very real for me. So last weekend I took action.
I booked an impromptu trip to Boston to get advice on the book from a friend and two professors I adore about publishing this first book of poems. I then quite unexpectedly got to meet two poets I had previously never met but greatly admire.
I also had been waiting throughout the pandemic to congratulate Belinda Rathbone on her new book,
George Rickey: A Life in Balance, about the life and work of the famous kinetic sculptor.
I called Belinda hoping to meet her and get her advice but she told me that she was on her way to Scotland. After I told her about my mission, she told me that I should meet Lloyd Schwartz and Gail Mazur, both frequently published and very well respected poets, both of whom were her friends.
I jumped at this unexpected opportunity. How could this be getting better and better? I had their books and decided to bring along the most recent books of new and selected work, Who’s On First by Schwartz and Land’s End by Mazur, in the hope I could get them autographed.
We agreed to meet at Harvest, a restaurant in Harvard Square. I decided to be early but recognized Lloyd from his book cover photographs as he entered the restaurant and said, “I figured that must’ve been you because you were carrying all those books.”
Shortly after we were seated, Gail joined us and we talked for over two-and-a-half hours. We had an amazing link: We had all known the poet Elizabeth Bishop. I had only been her student once but they knew her well and Lloyd had written his PhD thesis on her and was a scholar of her works.
In addition, during our conversation I revealed that Robert Pinsky’s translation of Dante’s Inferno was a favorite of mine and Gail and Lloyd both told me they knew him and that Gail’s late husband had done the remarkable artwork for that book.
After the lunch crowd had emptied out and we finally left, Gail offered to walkover to The Charles Hotel to show me some of her husband’s works that were prominently on display as complete panels on the walls. They were as amazing as the illustrations for Pinsky‘s Inferno.
This was a remarkable weekend for me because though I love my friends I have painfully few friends who are poets.
To be surrounded by these wonderful creators as we freely talked about overlapping themes was overwhelming for me. The two were longtime friends and both agreed that creativity requires interchange and friendship to nurture artistic endeavor.
We agreed to meet again when I next came to Boston. I felt welcome and included and re-dedicated to this, my new and ever exciting profession.
It was all a spontaneous accident, which I come to believe more and more is what art and life is.
I have so much more to do.