A Review of Kim Addonizio’s Reading

by Kellen Lambert – Vail, 8th grade student, TOPS

This last week I was surprised to find that the poetry readings were venturing from the normal format. The poetry was obviously inspired by the blues, but I would have never guessed that they would actually play it. Gary Lilley started out with wonderful poems about Hurricane Katrina and racism. Both of these topics are very meaningful to me because my mother lived in Louisiana growing up, and seeing it as a desolate area full of trash and of displaced homes saddens me. I also have a black history, and without Martin Luther King Jr. and his protest for equality, I wouldn’t be alive.

Kim Addonizio read her poems and played harmonica for Gary. Her work was fearless and didn’t apologize for what she said. The line “I love your pain, it’s so competitive,” from one of her books called Lucifer at the Starlite really struck me. Some people are so scared to say because of what people might think of them. Kim takes the risk.

That night Zoe Gluck from TOPS introduced the reading with a poem in the style of Kim’s work and a nod to it as well. Towards the end of the show, Gary, Kim, and a guitarist came up on to the stage and played a few songs/poems for us, with Gary singing and Kim playing harmonica. It was beautiful, the mix of music and poetry. Sometimes I felt like they were trying to outweigh each other and beat each other. Each form of art is similar yet unique: poems being songs without a melody, and music being poems set to song. The two balanced each other perfectly and in harmony. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience.

Zoe Gluck and writer-in-residence Merna Ann Hecht after Zoe's reading

editor’s note: Kellen has been a student in the WITS program for several years, and read a poem inspired by W.S. Merwin at his Seattle Arts & Lectures reading in the fall of 2008. We invited her to be a guest reviewer of our Poetry Series.


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