Famous poet reads work at DVC

Tyler Elmore, Managing editor

Famous writer and poet Kim Addonizio recently performed her poetry with fellow poets for students at Diablo Valley College.

Addonizio is the author of the “Poet’s Companion,” an anthology of how to write poetry that many DVC instructors use for their classes.

A classically trained flutist, Addonizio did not start writing poetry until her late twenties.

“I didn’t really know anything about poetry,” Addonizio said. “And I was about 27 when it hit me like lightning.”

Addonizio’s first book, “The Philosopher’s Club”, was published in 1993.

And she has since released 11 books, both of poetry and fiction.

Her newest book, “The Palace of Illusion: Stories,” from which she read a short essay titled “Another Breakup Song,” was released in September of this year.

In addition to Addonizio, Stanford professors Brittany Perham and Peter Kline also read their work for students.

The performance included not only poetry, but music as well.  Addonizio, Kline and Perham have started a band called Nonstop Beautiful Ladies. They perform traditional songs while reading their poetry over the music’s rhythm.

Addonizio played the blues harmonica as Kline read from “Deviants,” his most recent book that came out last year.

Kline played the guitar and sang, Addonizio played the blues harmonica and guitar, and Perham was on tambourine.

In between the music, each writer read several poems.

Perham discussed her poems before she read them, “It (her poem) is in the form of a Ghazal, which is a Persian form and what that one is…. A phrase or a word repeats on the end of every one or two lines.”

Along with reading their work, the writers answered questions from the audience.

English Professor Judy Myers asked how they got started with poetry and who they were most influenced by.

The three agreed, they were influenced by Sylvia Plath but they didn’t feel like they were trying to emulate anyone.

“I didn’t know anything, so I was buying books based on what covers I liked, so in that respect I was very self-educated,”Addonizio said.

Kline’s story was a bit different.

“For me writing was something I was interested in high school but I didn’t take it seriously until I was at college,” she said. “I had fantastic teachers.”

All having gone to graduate school for writing, they now devote most of their time to writing and teaching.

The performers’ books can be purchased online, or at the DVC bookstore.