Posted by: Viola | August 21, 2015

Lovely poetry reading at Avid Reader in Sacramento

The poetry reading on Sunday, at Avid Reader at Tower in Sacramento, was incredible. I loved every minute of it, despite any nervousness I felt before my reading. The event was an hour long, approximately. I arrived the venue early, so that I could get oriented. I got to meet one of the event organizers, Andrea, who showed me where to set up my things. I put a sample set of the Eight New-Generation African Poets chapbook box set on display. I was eager to share it with the audience.
My mother and my aunt attended the event, which was such an honor. Also present were my guardians here in Sacramento; they helped me during the event by taking photos and short videos, which made all the difference. You can find videos from the event here and here (at my next reading, I will bring a tripod and set up my camera so that I can have a full video of the whole reading to share on YouTube). My friend Erin and another family friend Janell attended the event. The audience was small, perhaps twenty people or so. It was amazing to see my friends and family in the audience, and I thought I’d feel more nervous seeing familiar faces but I felt calmer and felt very happy.
After a short introduction by the organizer, Nancy Gonzalez, I read my poems for about 20-25 minutes. This is the longest pubic reading I have ever done. I did a short intro to talk about the chapbook box set and also to thank the organizers and sponsors of the event, the Sacramento Poetry center and Avid Reader at Tower. I thanked my friends and family for their support, because I honestly would not be a poet/artist without everything they have given me. I appreciate everyone who has touched my life and been with me on this journey with poetry. The journey continues and I cannot do it without their continued support.
As I read my poems, I reminded myself to look up and make eye contact with members of the audience. This is something I have to work on, something I could have done much better at when I did my last public reading, and so I am proud of what I was able to accomplish at the reading on Sunday. I felt relatively calm and steady, able to both look at the page and read the poem but also take breaks to look up and connect with the audience. I loved reading and sharing my poems. It was so magical. I cannot describe it. I am so intensely private and writing is so solitary, but reading my poems to an audience reveals to me that, on a very profound level, poems must be shared. Poems are meant to be shared; they are stories that must be told, must be set free, must not always live inside the house but must venture out into the world and perhaps even find new/other homes.
After my reading, the second featured poet for the event, NSAA, read his incredible work. I enjoyed his words so much. His style and his poems were full of truths and much humor, great doses of reality. I felt that his reading complemented mine beautifully, because we had different styles and approaches. I loved it. Once NSAA was done, there was an open-mic and other poets got to read/recite poems. It was so much fun. I enjoyed listening to the poets. I loved it. I am so glad I got to read first, because I could then relax and just enjoy the rest of the event.
It was great meeting and greeting members of the audience, once it was all over. I got to share contact info with a few poets and get their feedback on the reading. Overall, a wonderful event that I am so grateful to have been a part of. Thank you to the Mosaic of Voices reading series for including me and for the phenomenal work you are doing to bring great poets and their poetry to the Sacramento area! Thank you for the sweet wonder of allowing me to share my poems with you. ❤

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