We had David Lee, Utah's first poet laureate in class today. We were required to buy his most recent book, Last Call, and when I first picked it up and started a poem I mistook it for a variety of Cowboy Poetry. Not to disparage Cowboy Poetry, but I sure underestimated Last Call! We heard him read a couple of his poems and he has a wonderful reading voice. In the poems he read he used a very regional dialect which was quite startling when I began hearing the meanings and implications (which only proves me to be sort of a bigot) He was subtle and funny and in today's class, well, David Lee was splendid! I had a really good time. He claims to be an introvert but he is expansive, funny and answers to questions you ask him meander in unexpected but worthwhile places. And he told stories too. One was about waking up on a table in the presence of a large and somewhat surly nurse. He'd had a heart attack with neurological causes and he had died and had an NDE, But there he was back in this world and the nurse was telling him they needed to implant a pacemaker and he was telling her no... he didn't want a pacemaker and she was telling him that this would happen again, that his brain would tell his heart to shut down and next time they might not be able to bring him back. And he told her it was his brain and his heart and his life and she finally left, fairly steaming he said (but much more poetically) Later she came back and she asked him why he really didn't want a pacemaker and he burst out "Because Dick Cheney has a pace maker and i don't want ANYTHING in my life to be like Dick Cheney. (He really hates Dick Cheney) unbeknownst to him his doctor was in the hall and piped up with "I accept that" He told stories on Frank Herbert that made me laugh, he called them asshole stories I do believe, but they showed a human sure enough. And again, funny stories. He read other people's poetry exquisitely but not his own. He LOVES John Milton and recognizes that most people do not. He told us we should read Lycidas as an example of a truly beautiful poem. He read from Campbell Mcgraff In the Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys, and from Maurice manning's Common Man and The House on Breakheart Road, by Gailmarie Pahmeier. he reminded me of a friend I've never met in person, Cameron MacLean, sort of. Someone asked him why he writes poetry as opposed to some other form of writing, she thought maybe memoir... He talked a lot about that prefacing it with a statement akin to, don't be shocked, I know this is incendiary language in Utah, but I am a Socialist. He ranted against capitalism (made me glow, he did) he talked about being forced into the Vietnam War which he did not agree with and being wounded to the point of disability, then coming home, using the GI bill t get n education and beginning to write seriously at age 27, He said most writers don't make much money and poets especially don't but poetry is his mistress and that is what he loves and he is not in it for the money. He talked about writing to an audience, in his case a very narrow spectrum but about writing truly to those people, the ones that can hear you. I had a totally enjoyable afternoon. He is a very good extemporaneous speaker, but the BEST thing for me was in little details that show me the best part of myself, squelched and silent and scarred thought it is is at least still in there somewhere and I might not be able to keep up in a conversation with such a person but I sure as Hell can appreciate him. And that little spark of a me I sort of remember, I am happy to see any evidence of her any time.