Open Reading Poem by Theresa Haffner

Open Reading

Rating: 5.0


The L.A. poetry scene is
all about distances.

The distance of the suburbs from
one another, separated by miles of

With no real downtown section

And the distances of the people
from each other, too,

Separated by miles of fences they have
built around themselves.

It is hard for any sense of literary
community to develop here.

At the poetry reading
I am wearing black.

I am there to pick up some manuscripts
for publication in THE NEW PRESS, a
poetry magazine for which I am the
regional editor.

There are about 35 people in
attendance, all of them poets
except two.

There are featured readers followed
by an open reading. The features
read first. Then the other poets read
in the order they signed up.

Each poet leaves as soon as he has
finished reading.

The remaining poets talk loudly
among themselves and ignore the
poet who is reading.

Because I signed up last, I am
scheduled to read last.

By the time it is my turn, there
is nobody there but the two
audience members who are not poets.

She is a substitute school teacher
and he is a computer analyst.

It is their first day in California
and they are interested in seeing
some plays.

Outside the street is empty and
we are the only people on the

I ask them for a ride home.

On the way, I sincerely thank them
for coming out.

“You don’t know how important you
are, ” I tell them.

“Without an audience, poetry
is nothing! ”

Con Nie 13 April 2007

Good poem and capturing of a scene that I noticed happens at poetry readings. It seems so rude for poets to read their poem and then just leave without hearing the other persons poetry especially since most of the audience are poets. Thanks for sharing this. Sincerely, Connie Webb

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Goldy Locks 11 April 2007

yes, agreed. more compiled.

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Theresa Haffner

Theresa Haffner

Plainwell, Michigan
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