As a writer who’s gone to workshops and cons and gotten an MFA from a thriving popfic program at USM, I’ve met a lot of talented people, and I’ve learned to take that old adage—never judge a book by its cover, very seriously. I am no longer surprised by the young writer who seems meek and religious and fiddles with the buttons of his shirt as he talks when it turns out he writes bloody thrillers with wild sex scenes screaming from every corner of the page. It’s all par for the course. “Meeting” a writer is not something that happens by sitting down and having a conversation, it happens by being introduced to their work and sometimes more telling, hearing them read their work.
The first time I “met” Linda K. Sienkiewicz was at an open mic night for my MFA program. We’d had a few conversations before that, laughed, had dinner together, and had gotten along in an easy way that I sensed she had with everyone. She was nice and open and seemed overly normal. I wasn’t learned enough in the tricky ways of writers to see her as anything else. The night she read, Linda was wearing a jean jacket and glasses. She adjusted the mic nervously, said something I didn’t catch, laughed at whatever she'd said, and then launched into her poem. Launched is a good word, because she left the room and became something entirely different, the character on the page, a lovesick teen. There was an instant energy in the air, as she rocked her hips, titled her head, and read with the unyielding impulsiveness of youth. The angst of a teenager in love with Jim Morrison lifted each syllable off the page until I felt that my skin was alive and my mind was thrumming with that same love of Jim—who I usually could take or leave. That reading changed me. I have never looked at Jim Morrison in the same way or for that matter Linda. I was and am completely awed by her and her incredible talent. It shouldn’t have surprised me when I picked up Linda’s chapbook, Security, read the first poem, and stood in my kitchen fighting goose bumps, but it did. That kind of talent isn’t something that can be gotten used to. It overcomes. Each page of Linda’s book is a delight, a small tingling transformation. Even if you know nothing of poetry or care nothing for poetry, you need this book.
Look for Security here: