Not that I was having a bad day, mind you–anything but–and yet, getting Dana’s kind words and book comments in the email just after the Family Turkey Dinner the day after Christmas was a wonderful lift–a little chicken soup for the soul.
Dana Wildsmith, Georgia poet and teacher, on the other hand, was recovering this week from a spell of gray days, and it was good to hear that Slow Road carried her a little ways back towards wholeness and health.
It wasn’t until the Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative in October that I actually met and got to know Dana, though her face was familiar from a dozen meetings and conferences in the few years since becoming an attendee at Appalachian writing events.
What I discovered at SAWC was that Dana is one of the few poets I consider “accessible”. Another is Colleen Redman here in Floyd. Turns out I had two copies of Dana’s newest book of poetry, One Good Hand, and gave one of them to Colleen recently. That exchange felt like connecting two live wires, completing a kind of circuit between poets, growing new synapses in the collective mind.
I will tell you something: I sat down a month ago and read Dana’s book, front to back, aloud. I got started, and couldn’t stop; it just begged to be heard that day here alone. And after that, I had hoped to do something I’ve never done at the Spoken Word at Cafe del Sol a few weeks back: read another person’s work than my own. Didn’t make it to that meeting, but I still have and highly value One Good Hand (many of the poems are dog-related, for those of you who have affinities that way.)
I put Dana’s kind words up over on the book website, if you’d like to read it.