As stated earlier this week, my poetry reading list for National Poetry Month is designed to encourage you to seek out the influence of living poets — where they live and and where they read. Allow me to introduce you to a few of the living poets I met at the open mics and coffee dens of Asheville, North Carolina.
One of those souls is an editor, poet, journalist and friend, Pasckie Pascua. He has published several chapbooks and collections of poetry and prose. We first met at a coffeeshop in West Asheville and later haunted Beanstreets and other places from North Carolina to New York City. He left the back door to the poetry scene open for me and allowed me to grow and mature as a poet and writer. He also published many of my early writings. Lines from his poems still echo in my mind, like this one:
“The color of my poem
is also the color of my brother’s soul,
the color of my friend’s heart.”
Another poet I wrote with and read alongside is Jessica Newton. She facilitated a writers group when I first moved to Asheville. We gathered at the UNCA library or other spots around Asheville to write and read our compositions. Sometimes she brought writing prompts or other sources of inspiration. We shared prompts and poems. One night Mara Leigh Koslen brought examples of haibun. She introduced the poetic form and then we wrote. It was that night that I composed the first draft of a poem that would later be published. Several other poets and writers visited the writers group.
My poetry reading list is really an introduction to friends and poets who I have met face-to-face. We read and wrote poetry together. We drank coffee at sidewalk cafés until dark-thirty. We shared wine after a moonlit poetry reading. Met in cafés and coffeehouse, taverns and art galleries, bookstores and basements and rooftop ballrooms. We did life together.
When I introduce you to poetry, I introduce you to friends.
I’ll continue the reading list, introductions throughout this month and maybe beyond. Why should poetry only be celebrated in April?
Read the full poem, “Red is the color of my night” and other poems. http://pasckiepascuawords.blogspot.com/p/poetry-red-is-color-of-my-night.html
Mara Leigh Koslen bio: https://palimpsestgarden.com/about/bio/
“The last American chestnut tree on Forest Street” https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2017/04/18/poem-1-the-last-american-chestnut-tree-on-forest-street-2/