Reading at the Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard

Friday, March 23, 2018 — Late in the evening

I had to give my students their mid-term exams this past week at CSULB, so it’s been a busy time of helping them prepare, and then giving the exams, which had to be revised to account for my different approach to the subject matter of each course this semester. Over the past dozen years, I’ve taught each one several times (English 474/574: Survey of 20th Century American Literature; and two sections of English 386: Survey of Poetry), and enjoy the books I am using, but I am beginning to feel my age. I can no longer easily teach three courses in one day, so I teach my section of 474/574 and one section of 386 on Mondays and Wednesday; and the other section of 386 on Tuesday-Thursday. Of course, it’s not the teaching that wears one down, but disproportionate committee work.

I wish I had had more time this week to publicize my reading tomorrow in Oxnard at the Carnegie Art Museum. Marsha and Phil are very kind to ask me to read my poetry there, especially considering that I have no books of poems to sell. Of course, I no longer dream as I did when I was young about getting another book of poems out. My chance for recognition as a poet — at least in this country — grows smaller every day. While the Glass Table collective has plans to issue a book of mine this coming fall under the What Books imprint, I doubt that more than a half-dozen people will buy a copy. I gave a reading at Beyond Baroque several months ago. Two people showed up. I gave a reading at Gatsby Books in Long Beach around that same time; only a half-dozen folding chairs were needed to seat the audience.

Thinking of these experiences only makes me more grateful for how I have been welcomed as a poet in Mexico the three times I have gone there to read. My primary encouragement these days comes from thinking of the efforts of Bonobos Editores and my translators in Mexico. My poems have also been translated into Japanese, Croatian, and Italian, as well as Spanish. Maybe I need to find someone to translate my poems into English, since the verse I write in this country seems like a foreign language to my fellow citizens. It’s a small miracle that the writers who make up the Glass Table Collective have been able to disregard the indifference that my poetry is treated with in this country.

I have to admit that I am exhausted, and it is hard to summon the energy that will be needed to make the drive from Long Beach to Oxnard. Spring break starts today, but all that means is that my wife’s siblings and my siblings expect me to use this “free time” to help care for Linda’s mother and then to address my mother’s needs.

Take a deep breath, Bill. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let it out slowly.

Set the alarm clock. I must get up early to finish several tasks before I start the lone drive to Oxnard. I will have to be up there by mid-afternoon, since if I leave any later than 2:00 p.m., I am not likely to be on time for the reading, for which I am the opening act. Out-of-print poets are usually relegated to the “warm up the audience slot” for the featured poet. I did so for Mark Salerno and Ellyn Maybe at Beyond Baroque several years ago; and for Dale Herd more recently.

Take a deep breath, Bill. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let it out slowly.

Onward.

Saturday, March 24 – William Mohr and Vincent Mowrey
6:00 p.m.
Poetry at the Carnegie Art Museum
The Jackson Wheeler Series 2018

424 South C Street, Oxnard
Host: Marsha de la O

costs $5 / members free

Candidates for the set list:

“Why the Heart Never Develops Cancer” — from Bittersweet Kaleidoscope (IF/SF Editions, 2006; out of print)

“The Eviction” — from Milk Magazine

“The Headwaters of Nirvana” — from Caliban on-line magazine

“Scorpio in the Summer” — from hidden proofs (Bombshelter Press, 1982; out of print)

“On the Poetry of the Barbarians” — from Bittersweet Kaleidoscope (IF/SF Editions, 2006; out of print)

“Wrinkles” — from Bittersweet Kaleidoscope (IF/SF Editions, 2006; out of print)

“In the Ocean of Nothingness” — from Bittersweet Kaleidoscope (IF/SF Editions, 2006; out of print)

“Untitled” poem from Hummingbird magazine

“Scorpio in Transit” from the new anthology from KYSO

“Gravestone Song” (unpublished)