Last night’s reading at the Princeton Public Library was fantastic. Anna and I arrived a few minutes early to an empty reading area, which made us a little nervous. But it filled up pretty quickly; I saw a wonderful group of familiar faces that I don’t see nearly enough, and a couple of Anna’s students from her West Windsor Art Center workshops showed up as well.

Anna and I both were expecting a mutual friend to attend, and when he called to tell us that he was running late, Anna suggested we try a new(ish) format so that he wouldn’t miss either one of us completely: instead of reading straight through for 20 minutes each, we decided to alternate–I read two poems, then Anna read two poems, back and forth for 40 minutes. The energy between us was terrific, and we were able to play off each other a bit: Anna followed my poem about a loved one’s car accident with her own accident poem (while my poem was a celebration of survival, Anna’s was an exploration of guilt, anger and self-preservation). Later she shared a beautiful and difficult philosophical meditation which focused on a few French phrases after I read my love letter to Eric Ripert, fancy French chef extraordinaire.

A few members of the audience commented on how we must have done so much planning for that to work; we laughed and said it was decided with only a few moments’ notice. When the host asked how we managed to align our work so closely, despite our differences in voice and style, Anna laughed again and said, “Well, we’ve been best friends for ten years!” (“Eleven,” I whispered to her.)

A good night, ended by a good beer and a good night’s sleep.

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