For many the pandemic has created a new dimension; one in which we interact via Zoom. Now, interact may be stretching the definition. Yes, we see one another, we listen, and when not muted we can actually share.
As a poet who has done many live readings, Zoom is entirely different. You won’t hear the ahs a particular line evokes or the enthusiastic clapping given when you finish a piece or a feature presentation.
That said, when asked by Cobalt host Rick Lupert to feature for an upcoming Tuesday night i was honored (though i’d been on the Tuesdays for a few weeks i was relatively new to Cobalt).
Along comes December 1, and it’s my night to feature. i’d prepared a list of poems and timed myself more than once to be sure i stayed within my allotted time. i’d invited several friends and family members to listen in.
When i got on Zoom i was struck by how many folks were there. Many more than i’d ever seen on a Tuesday. A nice starting point for me. Rick is a fantastic host, always commenting on what a poet has shared, at times quoting lines, other times about the overall feel of a given piece. After some open mic it was my turn to read. i could see clapping (we use the silent hand wave used by folks in the deaf world), which is always nice. It all went well. When i was done, i saw loads of comments in the chat room – quotes of given lines, kudos for a given piece – more chat comments than i’d ever seen at Cobalt. i don’t share this to toot my own horn, but to explain my own reaction to the response: At the end of the night i felt high from it all. That lasted nearly 48 hours!
Fortunately, a friend who attended, was up for talking on the phone (i really couldn’t see myself at home alone, bouncing off the walls), and we talked until after midnight. It helped. She’d never been to a Zoom reading and had loved so much about the entire evening. Well, other than the bomber who got in the chat room with horrible racist comments. Rick fixed that and we carried on. My thanks to all who attended the December 1 Cobalt reading. The open mic poets were great – the entire evening was great. And always, thanks to Rick for being a spectacular host. For anyone interested in experiencing the evening you can catch it here:
View the entire Tuesday, December 1, 2020 cobalt poets reading featuring cheryl latif (Facebook group)