silence

by Laura Kochman

I find myself wanting to defend short posts like last night's, though it may not be thoughtful or careful. Though I may have written it very quickly, because I was tired and wanted to go to bed. Even then. That's what makes it so defensible--that I did it even though it would have been easier not to. Especially in a time-based project like this, it's those posts that make the grout that are maybe the most important. 

When I was working on my thesis, which was a collection of individual poems, my advisor reminded me more than once that every poem in a collection can't be a knockout. This is because books have a rhythm and a shape, and you create it through impact in addition to content and form. I think about this when working on a poem, too, judging where to cut a line, where to extend, where to leave a hole, how to place one line near another line. There is a rhythm to the page, and a rhythm to this site. I guess I'm disrupting that by dumping 30 posts in 30 days. But so: what kind of rhythm am I creating? Am I establishing a pattern? Am I giving myself space with this condensed block of posts? It's hard to tell while this is still in process.

annie get your gun and also your microphone by Laura Kochman

Once, when I was eleven or twelve, my mother tricked me into auditioning for a local musical (I could probably do a whole blog series on "times my mother tricked me into X"). She described it as a small community production, and I was not interested at all because I had terrible stage fright, but when we got there and started going through the audition, it became clear that it was more like an off-Broadway production. I showed up in jeans, and they had us going through a complicated dance number. Other people wore leotards. It was horribly embarrassing. The only aspect of the thing that I had any confidence in was the voice audition, for which I sang "Moonshine Lullaby" from Annie Get Your Gun. I was so quiet that they had the pianist stop playing so that I could sing a cappella. None of us got a callback, hallelujah.

—which is to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I started giving public readings and I loved it. Is it not cool to get caught up in the rhythm of the thing that you wrote? I don't care. Reading my work makes me more confident in my work, and once I get up to read, I'd prefer not to stop. Last night my quiet voice was a little bit of a bummer, because we were in a bar and there was jazz playing in the next room and traffic outside and some kind of high-pitched whine-from-whence-who-knows, so I had to strike a balance between creating volume and reading with tonal shifts. Even with all that, it was still so much better than nervously singing soprano in front of a casting director trying not to shake his head. I have tried a lot of musical instruments, and none as good and satisfying and right as language itself.

by Laura Kochman

Again, past 10, but this time because we ran over to Center City after I got home from work so that I could do a poetry reading. Now I'm sitting on the couch under a blanket, eating frozen raspberries.

I think it's okay to admit right now that I'm tired, and go to sleep. These are words. They count. And if you want more, here's the first poem I read tonight, in honor of International Pet Day (the second poem, not the first).

on women and silence by Laura Kochman