Erato Turns Green


Erato is the muse of lyric poetry and she’s pitching a really ugly, jealous fit right now. Way out of scale, considering that it’s just little me ditching poetry for a time. As you might recall, I plan to devote this summer to writing fiction (actually rewriting fiction) and she’s taking my decision as full-scale abandonment. She’s no fun, let me tell you. First, she put a curse on Forza Coffee Company, the long-time venue for a very popular Colorado poetry reading, Third Thursdays. We may be able to continue in another place, but will long mourn the loss of our poetry home, our very best poetry community.

Losing Forza was round one. On Sunday I went to Pomegranate Place, a women’s center in Denver, for a favorite poetry event, Poem & Story, in which we each read a poem, tell the story of our selection and discuss. It’s a free-flowing conversation about specific poems and what they mean in our lives. Delta Donahue, the program manager at Pom Place asked me, in response to my reading, what was dying for me and what was waiting to be born. Well, of course, I told the story about my plan for fiction writing this summer, letting the poems lie fallow. And in the course of the afternoon, Delta announced that Pom Place is closing! The economy is the ostensible reason. I think it’s Erato throwing her lyre, her arrows and her green-eyed self into the situation. End round two.

Now the story darkens. Yesterday I got an email saying that a poet friend from Maine had died. Michael Macklin was a long-time friend and a talented, generous man who went to sleep on Saturday night at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and never woke up. Dear Michael, we will miss you and your poems. If there really is a muse of poetry, I hope she has led him to a perfect garden of verse.

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