Dear Glen Starkey,
I took your article with a few grains of salt, as per your suggestion (“Fighting words,” July 3). It still pissed me off. I’m sorry you had a negative experience at poetry church. I’m also sorry you have to be drunk to have a good time. Mostly though, I’m sorry you were too busy worrying about your moment in the spotlight to look around, to see and feel the creative honesty at the Grange Hall that night. (Not to mention the following two nights, which you failed to mention or attend. You missed out, Glen—they were both amazing.)
Part of the positive expansion that occurs for poetry church performers and attendees comes from the witnessing and supporting of each other. There is an energetic exchange that happens when we are witnessed by our community that allows us to transform, to grow, to feel loved. Instead of supporting the event in this way, you were outside getting drunk in your car, waiting for your turn to be on stage and complaining that it was taking too long.
What you failed to notice, or at least mention in your snarky, ill-tempered article, is the safe, alternative community art space that Dennis and the rest of us create through the lens of poetry church. There is no other space in SLO where artists of all media, backgrounds, ages, orientations, and abilities can come together to witness and support each other’s creations. Poetry church is beautiful, earnest, vulnerable, and it comes from the truest parts of all of us. Dennis does a lot of selfless work to make it happen, and he allows the evening to flow as it will when the church doors open. We are comfortable with this because we understand, and we are here for the community, not for individual gain.
Regardless of your rudeness and ignorance, you did paint poetry church as something different here in our little city.
My hope is that other open minds will notice that too, and take a gander or share the next experience with us. Thank you for that.
The blindfolded and handcuffed woman getting drawn on because art.
-- Lillian Rossetti - Los Osos