Last Saturday I ran a poetry reading called "Girl Talk." This was the third year of what I initially thought would be a once-only event. I've wanted to continue doing it because it has been fun and the people who participate ask to do it again. The event is held at my local library which has a nice Community Room. The librarian works with me in making the arrangements.
Here's how it goes. A few months before the selected date, always March to coincide with Women's History Month, I invite a few dozen women poets to participate. This year we started out with 30! A few too many because everyone said yes. That's the easy part. The hard part is having to say no to women who send notes asking to be included. I just can't add more than that. So I now have a "waiting list."
I ask the poets to each send me a brief bio. I post those on the Girl Talk page at my website. I ask for volunteers to bake cookies. This year I had 10 volunteer bakers. I also ask the women to bring friends to join the audience. Although the focus of the reading is a celebration of women, each year we have a number of men who join us.
There is a book sale at this event. Each of the poets is invited to bring six copies of one title for the book table. The librarian arranges for volunteers to man the table and handle the sales.
This year we were cursed by horrible weather, heavy rain and strong wind. Many sections of NJ and elsewhere were flooded and without power by late Saturday night. But mercifully the worst held off until after the event. Most of the poets remained undaunted by the dire predictions. We lost only three, the ones who were coming the farthest distance. We lost some audience, I'm sure, but it was still a good turnout. Even with fewer people, we sold more books this year than last.
Most importantly, everyone had a great time. Each poet read one poem only on a woman-related topic. We heard poems about mothers and daughters, grandmothers, body image, paying for college, good marriages and bad. It was wonderful to hear such a variety of voices coming together. After the reading, everyone was invited to stay and enjoy the refreshments.
Here's video which captures highlights of the day.