Day One finished with readings given by Malena Morling and Major Jackson. Morling, who once taught at Syracuse University, has an engaging voice and a distinctive style that pricks the listener's ear. She did read a poem referencing places in the Syracuse area, something my Syracuse native friends might appreciate.
Despite my acquaintance with Major during a workshop at Bennington, where he still teaches in the low-res MFA program, I had not heard him read his own work. Major reads with a quiet but compelling voice; his poems could be described as an tonic in this seemingly pervasive climate of cultural and personal human confusion.
After the second of four workshops with Emerson and the other participants, I feel gratified to know that this conference attracts serious poets and not merely hobbyists. The feedback given is sincere, precise and beneficial, even when slightly painful. This is, however, what I am in attendance to receive, especially in regard to my ongoing struggle with certain narrative poems.
The evening's readers were Kim Addonizio and Thomas Lux. Addonizio held my attention more, perhaps because I am more familiar with her work and her reading style since she was a headline poet at the first RochesterInk Poetry Festival in 2005. I would be reluctant to say that Lux's reading was not entrancing, just that Addonizio is a difficult personality to follow. Most fun was their collaboration; Kim's harmonica served as background music to one of Lux's poems. She is quite accomplished in her musical ability.