Tuesday, April 30, 2013

PLEASANTON POETS & POETRY REVIEW original post date: 05/27/2007

in this great shot, are four of my favorite poets:

left to right: kirk ridgeway 3rd poet laureate of pleasanton, cynthia bryant, current poet laureate, al young, california poet laureate, jim ott, 2nd poet laureate/pleasanton

i've had the honor of meeting al young, twice, and the other three: kirk, cynthia, and jim, i've seen several times over the years at a variety of literary events and consider friends.

quality people.

sometime last year, i put together my first collection of poetry. my idea is to self publish. but before biting that bullet, i wanted to have my work evaluated and reviewed by the current and past poet laureate's of pleasanton. -this is no easy thing to do; very scary.

you are at the height of vulnerability when you share your entry level work with experienced professionals

my goal was to have two male poets and two female poets review my work. tossed a coin, and male poets were first.

and i must thank, thank, thank in such a big way, kirk ridgeway. here is a man i could listen to for hours and days at a time and still hunger for more. incredibly knowledgable, spiritual, wise and passionate about art and poetry. on the night before we met over coffee to conversate about life, art, and his reaction to my work, i prayed a long prayer

please dear Lord.. let me be open to suggestions and constructive criticism; let me listen, heed and grow from his knowledge and feedback

because, truth is... the rebel and non-conformist impulses in me often cross the finish line before good advice can be learned and applied

and i am happy to report my prayer was answered, because as he provided his feedback, and i looked at his penciled in notes on my pages.. and i read in my head, how the poems would sound if i incorporated his suggestions.. it turned out, that 80% of the time, his suggestions improved my work.. and the other 20% i chose to keep as is, still made me re-look and re-evaluate my thought process and defend, to my own satisfaction, my desired effect and poetic purpose.

but in addition to my gratitude for kirk ridgeway's time and feedback, i'm deeply grateful for the articles and poetry he shared with me, and hold quite dear one of his personal theories he was kind enough to share. it is this: his trapdoor phenomena

it is to recognize that the trapdoor swings both ways.

if a person does serious, intentional and wholehearted inward work; they will become aware and connected to all that is outside themselves.

conversly, if a person looks outward with equal intensity and openness, they will eventually fall into compassionate gratitude for their own life with all its inherent joys, horrors, and impermanence.

i find this circle, this trapdoor phenomena, beautifully accurate.

and i tossed and turned on whether i should post his review regarding my poetry. i'm not planning on publishing until september. but just in case i die before september comes; he wrote this:

Poetry is ultimately about telling a story. Sandra Kay tells her stories through an imaginative gypsy dance of emotion and words that threaten to seduce or con the writer and reader. In form and content her artful word dance is at times smooth, sensuous, lovely and then brash, naughty, jarring. Grief, humor, hope and despair constantly enter and exit the bustling stage of the non-ordinary structure of her poems. These juxtapostions will resonate with the reader as they mirror the dramatic dance of every human relationship. -Kirk Ridgeway 4/25/07

of course i cried.

felt a little ... awkward.. uneasy... reading the word "con" -it has such a negative connotation. but i am always grateful for true thoughts and experiences whether or not they rest easy with me.

thank you kirk! God shine!


At 8:06 AM, Blogger Jim Ott said...

What a wonderful tribute to Kirk, Sandra. I've worked with him for many years and he is all that you say. Occasionally he'll come to speak in my English class where he'll share his passion with my students.

On May 30, Kirk will be receiving an award from the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council for his contributions to the arts. He has given so much to our community.

Thanks for sharing his words about your poetry and for highlighting him in this post.

At 8:33 AM, Blogger she said...

hi jim! i'm so glad to learn this.. please pass on my congratulations to kirk

and.. i thank you too.. for your kind words and feedback on my poetry; although nothing in writing yet ")

no pressure of course.. just send those rave reviews sometime before august


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