In February 2011, my husband and I went to see Anthony Bourdain speak at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center. I bought the tickets as a Valentine’s Day gift (we had been married nine years and the gifts have been decreasingly great since).
What I remember most from that night is feeling a connection with my husband, with Bourdain, and with living in general. There is something about experiencing a talk, a poetry reading, a performance (of dance or theater), etc. that is life affirming.
His talk was brilliant. He was all about living — and that is one of the reasons this loss is particularly difficult. One of the things poetry has done for me is to help put into words what I cannot find the words for. Poet Donald Hall called this the “unsayable said.”
Rattle is a literary magazine that has an online feature called “Poets Respond,” where writers respond to something that has happened in the news that week. This last Sunday, my poem honoring Bourdain was chosen for this feature.
Here is the link if you’d like to read it: https://www.rattle.com/remembering-you-anthony-bourdain-at-the-elementary-school-talent-show-by-alexandra-umlas/
If you are unfamiliar with Bourdain’s work, I highly recommend his show, his books (he was a fantastic writer), or any of his interviews.