2nd Thursday Open Mic Poetry with Ken Fontenot: Nov 12
Hosted by Cindy Huyser
Just a Trace of Moon Selected Poems (2006-2013), Ken Fontenot’s fourth book of poems, continues the fine balance of “things both practical and sublime” that he developed with subtlety and flare in his previous book, In a Kingdom of Birds—poems that explore the personal as well as the grander themes of life, with music presiding. “The songs of my time insist we listen attentively. / Take Fleetwood Mac. They incite, almost all melody, / which is the pie’s filling, the alcohol in a mixed / drink.”
Images of childhood (gathering eggs, his grandfather’s tractor, butchering a hog) and wildlife (hummingbirds, hyenas, lions, snakes) share meditations with figures encountered during a learned life—Beethoven, Goethe, Shakespeare, Mahler, Brahms, Bruckner, Buddha, Whitman, Melville, Aristotle. “Mostly, / though, I would have wanted Boccherini’s dates: / 1743-1805. Was it a great time to be alive? / Of course, the music itself seems to say so.”
And throughout—he weighs and balances a lifetime of choices. “I wanted to have a distinct plan, yet it changed / as I changed. Even the pines were insightful. / And the cows returned to the barn in their slow way.”
KEN FONTENOT received an MA in German Language and Literature from the University of Texas at Austin and studied in Freiburg, Germany under a DAAD fellowship. His novel, For Mr. Raindrinker, is set in 1970s New Orleans. His second book of poems won the Austin Book Award, and his third won the 2013 Texas Institute of Letters award for best poetry book in Texas. His translations of contemporary German poems have appeared widely. He recently translated Wilhelm Genazino’s novel, Women Softly Singing. A native New Orleanian, he lives and works in Austin, Texas.
Open mic poetry reading to follow the feature. Bring poems to share!