Today I attended Michael Meyerhofer's Georgia Poetry Circle reading at my university. Meyerhofer has won numerous prizes includeing the Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry from Briery Creek Press. He has been previously nominated for a Pushcart Prize and he was a finalist for the Philip Levine Book Prize. In essence -- he kicks serious poetry ass.
The reading was held at noon and Meyerhofer read from two of his collections; the Liam Rector winning book Leaving Iowa and his most recent publication, a chapbook entitled The Clay-Shaper's Husband.
Here is the super-fabulous "set list:"
From Leaving Iowa:
- "Death, the First Time"
- "The Check"
- "The Witch Hazel Beggar of Chicaog Union Station"
- "Building the House"
- "Ode to the Repair Guy"
- "Iconography of the Heart"
- "The Saddest Thing"
- "The Man with Half an Ear Gets His Hair Cut"
- "Floating Womb Syndrome"
- "Silk Roses"
- "Cardboard Urn"
From The Clay-Shaper's Husband:
- "The Clay-Shaper's Husband
- "The Crayon Not Taken"
- "Hollywood Jack"
- "Against Etymology"
I have never been talented with "blurbing" a book or collection. Coming up with the perfect phrase that captures the essence of a work with pithy humor and insight escapes me. I will bumble my best surmise of Meyerhofer's work and -- at the great risk of sounding full of cheesiness -- declare that it is so completely human. Let me clarifiy and say that I don't mean human as in full of "feel-goodness-like-a -glass-of-lemonade-on-the-front-porch" and for the love of goddess I would never declare it "heart-warming." Those phrases are best applied to genre writers (ahem, yes, I am speaking to you Christian fiction) and completely undermines the complexity of Meyerhofer's work. I mean human as in dirty and real and beautiful and rhythmic and common and exquisite and about everyday and anyday and days that haven't even happened yet.
Seriously. Go read his stuff NOW!
The workshop was held at 3 p.m. in the library and was well-attended (much like the reading). In this workshop, Meyerhofer answered questions about his writing background, poetry, and reading. Here are some key things I learned at this workshop:
- Meyerhofer started writing short stories first and then turned to poetry around the age of 21. He described his short stories as awful retellings of works he liked.
- To help with reading jitters one might find it helpful to pretend that he/she is reading the work of someone else aloud.
- He enjoys the work of Sharon Olds and Billy Collins.
- The best advice ever given to him by a writing instruction was "go work on this some more;" although he admits that their were more expletives in the original statement.
- His favorite poem he has written is "Ode to Dogs."
- He likes people watching at coffeeshops and malls.
Obviously, this is a very brief overview of the fabulousness that is Michael Meyerhofer. Therefore you should all buy his books and read them for yourselves!