Here’s a recording of me reading from Slant of Light at the Trail’s End Festival in Sedalia Friday night, courtesy of James Bryant, the organizer of SpoFest. Thanks, James, for your tireless promotion of the spoken word in and around Sedalia!
Here’s me doing my reading at the Spofest event at the Queen of the Prairies Arts Festival in Sedalia last month. I got a little scrambled at one point because I read my clock wrong — thought I was running out of time when I actually had several more minutes. Oh well, those are the joys of live performance!
I’m headed to West Plains in a couple of weeks to talk at the Ozarks Studies Symposium sponsored by Missouri State University at West Plains. The program looks like a good one . . . some longtime Ozarks scholars whose names I recognize, and some new names I’m looking forward to getting to know. It’ll be nice to see my good friend Steve Yates again; he’ll be reading from his Juniper Prize-winning story collection Some Kinds of Love.
This event will be my first public reading from my new novel, This Old World. Up to now, only my publisher and a couple of agents have read it, along with an extremely small circle of loved ones. It’ll be interesting to figure out which passages work well with an audience. There’s an art to that — it took me a couple of readings from Slant of Light to learn which sections were engaging and easily comprehended in a spoken-word setting.
I’ll be reading again the following weekend at the Queen of the Prairies Arts Festival in Sedalia as part of a Spofest event. So if you’re near West Plains on the 20th or 21st, or near Sedalia on the 28th, come on over!
Some literature-loving people in Sedalia have organized an event they call “SpoFest.” It’s a poetry-reading, mostly, although when I was there Tuesday, there was also a reading from a play, from some essayish-prose poems, and even some stand-up comedy. Anything having to do with the spoken word is fair game for SpoFest.
The poets range from rank beginners to experienced writers, and the mood is “hear and enjoy” — it’s a supportive event, full of encouragement and mutual appreciation. They meet at locations around the city — the previous time I was there, we were at Wine & More downtown.
On Tuesday, the temperature was in the high 90s, and we were on the patio of the End Zone Bar & Grill. Inauspicious setting — but a whole lot of people turned up, to read, listen, and commune. Many of them were well up in years, and I admired their commitment to spoken literature. I had tostadas and a beer, then got up to read some passages from Slant of Light — and I don’t think I’ve ever had a better audience!
Sedalia should put SpoFest on its top ten attractions list — right up there with the Missouri State Fair! What a great group of people!