Cynthia Robertson | Uptown News
With the arrival of the month’s first Friday, local poets convened in Balboa Park’s Santa Fe Room for their regular “Poetry Party.” At 2:30 in the afternoon, they greeted each other as they procured a cup of coffee and sat down at one of the room’s long tables arranged U-shaped around a podium. As everyone looked through their sheaves of poems to read, sun streamed through the arched windows.
After getting his words in order, the head of the Poetry Party, Christophver R (his legal name) rose as the first to speak. He looked up at his fellow poets — with ages ranging from their 20s up to their 80s — and reminded them that the reading was practice as well as performance.
“We do not criticize. We are all working to become better poets,” Christophver said. “Better poets make better lovers. We love to love life.”
Exercising a routine refined since the group began in 2011, the intricate group of poets took turns reading for a few minutes each. Their work ranged wide, touching on love and death, calamity and heartbreak, mercy, God and children.
Randi Hawkins recited her poem about the San Diego Opera’s fiscal troubles, entitled “Opera Blues.”
The youngest poet present, Rudolfo Gonzalez, aka Rudy G, read a poem he had written about a frightening incident he’d had on the trolley.
As the party came to a close at 5 p.m., Christophver vocalized his appreciation for those in attendance that day.
“Poets are an elusive lot. I never know who might show up,” he said.
Ruth Ann Turner, a first-time drop-in visitor to the group looking to try her hand at the craft, had come only to listen.
“I wasn’t too sure how I’d like it, but this definitely rates a ‘10,’” she said.
Newcomers like Turner only reinforce the need that Christophver and cohort Michael Turner envisioned three years ago when they first came together with a group at Balboa Park’s Senior Lounge.
“We thought the lounge was just begging to become a coffee house experience,” Christophver said. “All it needed was a poetry reading. We put the word out, and have continued every first Friday since.”
Just this year, the Poetry Party group moved their meeting to the Santa Fe Room.
“There is such an emotional integrity in this group, I feel like I can really get to know and love the people,” Turner said.
Turner proved a saying of Christophver’s true: “Caution: Poverty may be inspirational to your health.”