Book Party

Saturday I had a book signing party for my chapbook, The Museum of Fresh Starts. Some people had ordered it directly from the publisher, and my first thought was to thank them with food and wine. My next thought was to invite people who might

vase crop

book party centerpiece made from old dictionaries

like to see the book before committing themselves to buying it. Then I asked everyone to bring their spouses, so Doug wouldn’t be the only one. My next thought after that was, what have I done, all these people are not going to fit in my house! This thought determined that we were going to have a non-seated, cocktail party type event, but with wine instead of cocktails. And tea. I’m a big tea drinker.

So my menu was a combination of tea sandwiches and canapes. I made the food; Doug bought the wine.

The hard part was planning the reading. Most poetry readings I’ve been to start with forty minutes of reading, and if there’s a reception it comes after. Forty minutes of reading has always seemed long to me. Even when it’s from one specific book, people aren’t following along with the text – they are listening, and after a while it’s hard to keep it all in your head. Plus, this wasn’t primarily a reading, it was primarily a thank-you party. I wanted it to feel festive, celebratory.

I went out and weeded the garden while I thought about this. With a task like weeding you can assign complicated questions to the underbrain, while the upperbrain pays a more carefree type of attention to sorting out the chickweed from the lamium.

Okay, how about four poems? And how about embedding them right in the middle of the party, with food both before and after? I read three poems from book, the title poem, the cat pantoum, and the last poem, which you can find here.

I ended the reading with a poem not in the book, a poem about Doug, “The Professor’s Nap.” It’s here on my website.

And then we went back to eating and drinking, and a good time was had by all.


front yard

glory out front

It seems foolish to be proud of my front yard as June begins. Any idiot can have a beautiful yard in June. The real work is in the backyard, where I have weeded, dug up, and composted the raised beds, and installed my home-grown tomato seedlings. And that’s after Doug replaced a section of chicken wire in the fence, made new supports for the blueberry nets, and replaced the hinges on the cold frame.

I’m also behind getting seeds into the dirt for zinnias and cosmos. I’m told deer won’t eat them, so it must have been the woodchuck that ate mine. True, she didn’t eat the short  groundcover-style zinnias. Just the gorgeous tall ones I wanted for bouquets. The zinnias and cosmos go in behind the fence now.

back two crop

meanwhile in back

I didn’t get the seeds in for the Jack Be Little pumpkins until today. It kept raining. In the garden store the other day I heard someone say, in the singsong of folk wisdom, “a wet and windy May/is good for corn and hay.” A midwestern mantra. There are plenty of corm and hay fields nearby; I plan to keep an eye on them, and see if that mantra is right.