After Phil Levine, our current Poet Laureate, gave a terrific reading at East Carolina University last week, I found myself at a
colleague’s house with a number of other poets and teachers. We were enjoying a drink and listening to Phil graciously spin stories and hold court. I can’t say how much I needed a night like that, a night to remind me that I am, indeed, living the dream. I’ve become what I’d wanted to be, a writer in a constellation of other writers with whom I carry on a conversation, and against whose work I consider my own. But in moments like after the Levine reading, or the one time I got to hang out with his student, Larry Levis, drinking and singing at Greg Donovan’s house, or the dinner I had with Bill Matthews at AWP once, or when I was backstage one night with Toni Morrison, Lucille Clifton, Rita Dove, Sonia Sanchez, Maxine Kumin, Kevin, Young, and a number of others at an event in NYC, after moments like those I can’t help but reflect upon how lucky I’ve been to get here and to have been a part of these moments that transcend the everyday, when my heroes arrive and show me the way to go.