This interview comes to you in two parts. Part 1: In which I speak to Martina Newberry about her recent poetry reading, “The Language We Dare Not Speak” held in the Espresso Cielo Cafe in Palm Springs, California, on April 27th. And Part 2 in which I find out about her recent book, What We Can’t Forgive.
And now Part 1, including a 12 minute clip of the reading.
Judih: Martina! How are you?
Martina: I’m fine. How are you.
J: I’m fine and excited to talk to you. Today is Martina Day. I’d like to ask you about your poetry reading on the 27th of April. Was it for “Late Night Radio”? What was it for?
M: Actually it was a general reading. I picked something from each book to read. It was delightful for me.
J: How did it go?
M: I had never read here in my new home of Palm Springs and I had no idea of my audience. I picked something from each book and I didn’t know– I’m used to reading to students and other poets. In the coffee shops in L.A., everyone has been a writer at one time. I just didn’t have any idea what kind of audience they’d be and they were wonderful.
M: Yes, they were attentive and seemed to enjoy the work and I was just real real pleased. Cause I was nervous about it. You don’t know who they’re going to be. It was lovely. It went beautifully.
J: Did they ask anything or make comments? Were there certain poems that rang above the others.
M: Yes, one of the poems was received just amazingly well. I was very surprised. It was a poem that I don’t often read because it’s kind of long. It was called Beautiful. And I finished the reading with it and several people asked to know which book it came from because they wanted to get that book.
It’s never happened to me before that someone asked for a specific book because of a certain poem. It was really fun for me.
J: Wow, that’s great. Are you going to make this a regular thing, are you going to be going back?
M: I sure hope so. A couple of people asked after the reading if I was coming back or if I’m going to be reading anywhere else. And I said I’d like to but I don’t know. The usual thing because I wasn’t sure if Espresso Cielo Café was planning on inviting me back, and I didn’t really know what to say. So I always say that I’d like to.
J: Were there other poets in the audience?
M: No. It was a one-person reading. And the coffee shop went all out. They had invitations made up and they sent them out to the community. They had an article in the local paper and posters up. I was floored. It was like the biggest marketing thing I’ve ever seen for one of my readings. It was a small town and I guess that kind of thing is appreciated, and they paid for it all. It was great. I felt like a star –superstar me!
J: That’s amazing and that’s how it should have been all along. Of course. Are any of the posters on line, I’d love to see them.
M: Here, I can show you one here.
M: The Language We Dare Not Speak. J: Beautiful.
M: It’s Brian’s graphic and that was the theme of the reading actually: The Language We Dare Not Speak and I had that logo on all the little tote bags and little shopping bags and that kind of stuff. Yes it was nice.
And before we move on to talk, let’s revisit the reading at the Espresso Cielo Cafe, Palm Springs (clips filmed by Brian Newberry)