By: Shannon Strack
On a rainy December night I had the pleasure of attending a poetry reading at the Carlsbad Library. The Magee Park Poets Anthology Party was held in the Schulman Auditorium and featured poems published in the 26th edition of the Magee Park Poets Anthology.
Having never been to this library before I can safely say that, not only was I impressed with the celebration itself, I was quite impressed with the wonderful atmosphere. As I walked into the spacious auditorium the first thing I noticed was a small table at which a young woman was seated and selling copies of the anthology for only $5. Seeing as how I didn’t know anyone at the event, I quickly found myself a seat near the back and settled in. While it was not a full house, the comfortable familiarity of the writers in the room provided the feeling of a small, intimate gathering adding to the ambiance of the event. The night kicked off promptly at 7:00 p.m., opening with a speech from Shadab Zeest Hashmi, who has been writing with the group for many years. After his heartfelt acknowledgement of those who made the publishing of the anthology possible, Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes, who I am dubbing the Master of Ceremonies, delivered a stirring speech detailing his experiences with publishing this edition. After Ishmael’s speech the room went dark and a slide show commenced, showing images of past and current poets and past poetry celebrations. Due to technical difficulties the accompanying music never sounded, however, the lilting echos of conversation and light laughter throughout the room added to the intimate ambiance.
After the slide show it was time for each poet to present their contribution to the audience. The authors of the first two poems were not present so their work was read by friends.
While the poetry read contained a limitless array of subject matter, there seemed to be a common thread connecting them: spirituality.
One of the poems was about a woman sitting quietly in a wooded area taking it all in, another compared the human mind to a koi pond. The poets were from a vast range of ages and walks of life, each bringing something special to the poetry anthology. After the reading was over the group congregated in a room across the courtyard for a nice reception.
For anyone interested in reading or writing poetry, I’d highly recommend attending next year’s event. As someone who doesn’t normally read poetry, the event was a wonderful new experience for me. This is a really great community, each poet there celebrating the voices of their fellow writers. An enjoyable night was had by all.