Readings: Bridgewater International Poetry Festival (1/15, 1:30 pm)

January 15th-18th I’ll be one of a group of several dozen poets reading at Bridgewater College, just up the road from me in Bridgewater, Virginia, as part of the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival.

The festival pairs poets, who each read for 20 minutes, and then answer questions from the festival attendees for another 20 minutes. The poetry festival is the brainchild of fellow Virginia poet Stan Galloway, a professor of English at the college. My slot comes on the first day of the festival at 1:30 pm. The most up-to-date version of the schedule can be found at the link above.

The writing of poetry is a solitary type of thing, as we all know, and I’m looking forward to meeting with so many poets from different backgrounds and different parts of the world.

My plan is to split my 20 minutes between a selection of poems from the Mei Yao-ch’en sequence and a group of poems from the non-Mei output of the last year or so, all of which is on this blog. So here’s your chance to use your social media savvy to become an “influencer” and let me know if there’s a poem you want me to read on the 15th. I might even record a few as a way of practicing, and try to create some audio files to share. A few poets I know have done something similar, and I have always enjoyed hearing a poem read by its author. So go ahead, be a disruptive influencer of poetry, and let me know what you want to hear.

Attendees to the festival can buy one-day or full festival passes. So, fellow WP writers, if you happen to be driving down Route 81 sometime in the middle of January, feel free to swing on by and say hello. Leonard, I know you can make it for this, right–isn’t there a Greyhound from Turkey to Bridgewater? Dana? RobertEsther? Come on, now. Being on the other side of the world is no excuse! O C, I do not consider attendance optional. This is one of the issues with WordPress–being merely a digital poem’s throw from a bunch of writers doesn’t mean they can meet you for coffee.  What about you, Ann? Anthony? Ron? Gunmetal Geisha, you on my side of the continent this month? Ah, well.

Besides my regular reading gig at the local writers’ open reading here in Staunton on the second Wednesday of every month, I also have a reading scheduled for National Poetry Month in April–I think that’s at the Massanutten Library, in the heart of the Blue Ridge mountains, and will have more information on that soon as well.

In other news: Over the next few weeks I’ll begin to design and format the collection of Mei Yao-ch’en poems, as well as a collection of other poems written in the past year, tentatively entitled The Drift.  I may post new poems in this time, and may post some work from my previous books, which have not been posted on this site yet. I hope everyone’s new year is off to a good start!




12 thoughts on “Readings: Bridgewater International Poetry Festival (1/15, 1:30 pm)

  1. zdunno03

    Jeff, They are working on a sort of “bullet train” from Ankara to Istanbul which isn’t quite completed yet and since Izmir is CHP territory Erdogan has no plans to help our infrastructure and though his ego is large enough to consider himself a president in powers equal to that of any US president, he hasn’t, as of yet, contemplated any mass transportation linking the two countries. There are planes, of course, but no bus, train, metro, dolmus, ferry routes established. But I promise to be there in spirit and will definitely be coming back to secure some housing again in NY this spring and when I do, I am most definitely coming down there to hear you, Emily, and hopefully Robert and anyone else you can drag into it read/discuss/drink poetry for however long it takes to bring back out favorite Chinese poets back from the dead. But good luck at the reading and I am reblogging this to help promote.

  2. robert okaji

    Jeff, I’d like to hear the entire Mei sequence, which can be recited within the time limit, with room to spare, if you approach it as an auctioneer would. Alas, this would not allow for dramatic pauses.

    1. Jeff Schwaner Post author

      Yes! I forgot to mention that St Brigid Press will be there as well, displaying its fine letterpress books, broadsides, and haiku coaster sets. Emily, looking forward to seeing you!

  3. pi314chron

    Oh, how I would love to attend, Jeff! Won’t be able to make it this time, though. Maybe we can budget for the next fairly “close” reading. What a hoot that would be!


  4. gspera


    I’m delighted to see that you’re taking part in the festival. I think it’s high time you took your part on the larger poetry stage. Sorry I can’t be there, but I’ll be sending good vibes (is it still chic to be retro) from LA.


  5. joanna

    Jeff, I can’t believe I saw you there and yet we failed to meet. I didn’t arrive until Friday and missed your reading, unfortunately. What a fantastic weekend, though!


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