Tucson Festival of Books, March 12

By Jeremy Meltingtallow

Tucson Festival of Books March 12-13

If you live within several thousand miles of Tucson you should be planning to hit the 3rd annual Tucson Festival of Books the weekend of March 12-13. Jerry and I will, uh, not be there this year, but we did presentations and booksignings at the 1st and 2nd annuals and man, they put on a great show. This event didn’t start out little and get big. It started out big and has gotten bigger.

Last year I screwed up my nerve and introduced myself to Billy Collins, my favorite poet with a sense of humor. As is my tradition when meeting my heroes, I made a point of making only inane gurgling sounds in his presence, and he was kind enough to smile and avert his eyes until I stopped.

Here is an introduction to his poems:

Introduction to Poetry


I ask them to take a poem   

and hold it up to the light   

like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem   

and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room   

and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski   

across the surface of a poem

waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do

is tie the poem to a chair with rope   

and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose   

to find out what it really means.