Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Kristin Garth : coda

How did you first engage with poetry?

I remember the first poet who I ever saw performing their work.  I was in early elementary school, and we all came to the cafeteria to hear a poet.  Even then I guess I had pre-conceived notions of what a poet was.  I expected someone professorial.  Instead it was a man who looked like he came down off a mountain.  He was in fact from the Ozarks.  I looked for his book which I still have somewhere in my library, and I was unable to locate it to tell you his name.  I was just smitten with him.  I loved watching him own his identity which was so unique and tied to his place, his unique experience.  He was a performer and an individual.  It taught me that you didn’t have to be from a big city or slick or pretentious to be a poet.  I am from a small town, Gulf Breeze, Florida, and he was from a smaller place than me, but he was a traveling, performing poet.  You just have to do the easiest and hardest thing in the world: be yourself.  A person who can do that, I think, can own any room or microphone or page.  You have to tell your story like it’s the most important story in the world.  If you do it right, it is.

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