Colorado Poets Center E-Words Issue #5

The Zimmerman Tour

It’s not often I know a poet who’s been on a “book tour” so when Lisa Zimmerman got back from Florida after a 10-day stint, I had to find out about it and Greeley’s independent coffee shop, Margie’s, was a good place to do it. I don’t know that she’s a regular there, but her coffee was free.

The tour, sponsored by Anhinga Press, the publisher of her new book The Light at the Edge of Everything, and the Florida Literary Arts Coalition, started by Anhinga’s Rick Campbell, took Lisa to a variety of venues with readings and discussions at Valencia Community College in Orlando, the FLAC Center in St. Augustine, and Florida State at Tallahassee as well as a poetry class at the Univ. of Tampa and the huge Miami Book Fair.

Lisa Zimmerman

Lisa got a small stipend and some lodging along with being driven some places and renting a car to reach others. “I sold some books,” she said, “and, of course, I bought a whole bunch of others’ books and I’d taken along several of mine to trade.”

Around Day 4, she wondered whether she was staying too long, or staying away from her Colorado home too long, but meeting like-minded poets and talking about the joys of the art left her “nourished and moved.”
The Miami Book Fair is a large one with many big publishing houses participating, and Lisa was swept up and along with the likes of Derek Wolcott, Robert Hass, Molly Peacock, Campbell McGrath, and Billy Collins. She saw Martha Stewart going past, ready to sit down and sign her first 400 books. “The first 400!” Lisa exclaimed, as only we poets can exclaim about such a number of sales.

The tour was full of “moments” but, characteristic of Lisa, they involved other people more than herself. In Orlando, she heard a spoken-word poet present one of the top 25 poems she’d ever heard. Elsewhere she found individual poems she connected with like “This Brevity” by Gianmarco Manzione, and individual people such as Michael Hattich of Florida International, or two women writers in Tallahassee. “I made some life-long friends – it’s that simple,” Lisa said.

After all the travel and events, she holds many people and experiences in her heart, none stronger than an afternoon’s deep conversation with three other women poets in a fish-taco stand in St. Augustine. It was “wonderful and exciting and humbling,” Lisa said, as I finished my coffee.