- Is that a chapbook in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? Richard Pflum (R) poses with fellow poets Jeff Pearson (L) and JL Kato (M)
The July offering of Evening with the Muse, a monthly poetry event sponsored by the Writers’ Center of Indiana (812 East 67th Street), brought Richard Pflum (rhymes with "plum") to the microphone. A devoted fan of Pflum’s played a quick tune into a harmonica to move the animated audience to their seats. It’s a call to action that I’ve never experienced; I think it works even quicker than flickering lights at the theatre.
Pflum, a recent winner in the Moving Forward contest, shared a number of poems from his collected works, which include A Dream of Salt and A Strange Juxtaposition of Parts. I was quite impressed by his villanelles, a style of poetry which continues to mock me with its use of repetition and rhyme. Pflum made it seem easy, which is always wonderful to realize when you know how difficult something is. For, ahem, some of us.
The poet, who recently turned 78, inspired me to get back to my canvases and acrylics when he read “The Painters,” his winning poem from the aforementioned contest. You can read it in its entirety here. If I print any part of the poem here, I’ll ruin it for you, especially since the last line is my favorite. Go read it. I’ll wait.
Wasn’t that amazing?! Tongues! So evocative… and kind of dirty. Huzzah!
I liked several of his other pieces, including “Valentine’s Day Blues” (“Love… it’s the only thing I’m really afraid of”), “Paper House” ("The demented mailbox opens its brassy mouth to feed”), and “Sad Fireworks” (“The sky won’t tell us what we need to know”). I only recently discovered Pflum’s work; I’m glad it will be preserved as part of the Cultural Trail.