Cape Cod is an astonishingly literary place. I supposed that shouldn't be a surprise but I am surprised. Last week I went to a "story slam" at a restaurant that initiated these once-a-month events last fall. A few men and several women told stories. Some weeks earlier, at the same venue, I attended an open mike poetry evening -- it was a first attempt at that restaurant and was off to a wobbly start.
Over the last couple of years I've occasionally attended a well established open mike event at a community center which usually has quite a few regulars, men and women of a wide range of ages, and then a guest poet (someone who's actually published a book of poems -- sometimes self-published, some "really" published).
I went to another venue last night at an arts center that initiated poetry nights earlier this year. It was well attended, genially run by a pesonable young man. Twenty poets read -- well, 18 -- there were to prose pieces (one mine). The astonishing thing was that all but one of the poets (my son-in-law) were women, mostly over 50, but with a few younger women. They read well, with rhythm, with expression and they covered a wide range of topics.
These venues are all within a 15 mile radius of where I live. Who knew so many people were at home writing poetry? Who would guess poetry so alive and well ... and living on Cape Cod? Yes, I knew that the poetry class at the Academy for Lifelong Learning has a cadre of poets -- slightly more women than men, but fairly well balanced. Those are people who mostly came to writing poetry late in life and do not attend public readings. Their own readings may be a bit flat, a bit self-depreciating. But the poet-teacher recently shepherded a (real) book of their writings called Silent No More, with many arists' statements mentioning their late-in-life discovery of poetry as a form of self-espression.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!