Poetry is a necessity in life. This was the argument put forth by current U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey to 430 of Houston’s glittering literati gathered at the Houston Country Club for the 2014 Inprint Poets & Writers Ball.
After a dinner curated by Elouise “Ouisie” Jones fit for a poet king, Trethewey used her intimate relationship with poetry, which has supported her through triumphs and tragedies, as evidence that poetry sustains us as individuals and as a culture as we grieve and celebrate. Declaring that poetry saves us one life at a time, she reminded her audience the greater reason that they had gathered: To celebrate poetry.
The $375,000 proceeds of the Inprint Poets & Writers Ball, chaired this year by Carolyn Roch Henneman and Matt Henneman, help fund Inprint’s literary arts community activities including the nationally renowned Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series and Cool Brains! Inprint Readings for Young People; writers workshops for aspiring writers; and prizes and fellowships for the emerging writers of the University of Houston Creative Writing Program.
Among the many highlights of the evening were the salon readings by three Houston writers touched by Inprint programs.
David Stuart MacLean, a one time Inprint Mary Gibbs & Jesse H. Jones Fellowship winner earned gasps and laughs from listeners as he read the opening chapter of his memoir which recounts his harrowing experience waking up in an Indian train station with no idea who he was. The Answer to the Riddle Is Me: A Memoir of Amnesia has just been published and is already garnering critical praise.
University of Houston PhD candidate and active Inprint poetry busker, David Tomas Martinez allowed poetry revelers a sneak peek into his poetry collection Hustle, to be published in May. Before beginning his reading, Martinez gave a moving summation of the many ways the University of Houston creative writing program and Inprint have helped and supported his writing life.
Unlike MacLean and Martinez, novelist Elizabeth Black encountered Inprint not through the UH Creative Writing Program, but instead through the Inprint Writers Workshops. Those workshops allowed the director of development for Baylor College of Medicine the space and time to concentrate on her novel, The Drowning House. The Galveston set mystery turns the city and its history into a pivotal character.
Also on hand partying as the poets do were, Inprint board president Consuelo Duroc-Danner, University of Houston president Renu Khator and Suresh Khator, Dina Alsowayel and Tony Chase, Anne S. Brown, Susie and Sanford Criner, Carolyn and Platt Davis, Jeff Fort, Cece and Mack Fowler, Rachel and Dr. Bud Frazier, Cullen Geiselman, Eleanor and Dan Gilbane, Judy and Marc Herzstein, Sis and Hasty Johnson, Anne and Dr. John Mendelsohn, Mark Wawro and Melanie Gray, Andrea White and Michael Zilkha.