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Looking for love in all the wrong places? These Idaho poets have some thoughts for Valentine's Day

Love Letters will be shared Sunday, Feb. 12 at Ming Studios in Boise
MIng Studios, Rebecca Evans, Maggie Koger
Love Letters will be shared Sunday, Feb. 12 at Ming Studios in Boise

Bacharach and David wrote, “Without true love, we just exist.” Lennon and McCartney wrote, “All you need is love.” And of course, Dolly wrote, “And I will always love you.”

Bacharach and David wrote, “Without true love, we just exist.” Lennon and McCartney wrote, “All you need is love.” And of course, Dolly wrote, “And I will always love you.”

Words of love have traveled in and out of hearts across the generations. And on Sunday, Feb. 12 at Boise’s Ming Studios, a cast of select poets will add their own words on the most inspirational subject in history.

Organizer Rebeca Evans and Maggie Koger, one of the guest poets, visit Morning Edition host George Prentice to preview the event and share some of their own love letters.

Read the full transcript below:

GEORGE PRENTICE: It's Morning Edition. I'm George Prentice. Good morning. To be sure, love can be expressed through physical expression, but over the years, and  recently, even more, we've been tasked with expressing ourselves, sometimes online or from a distance, and lately, a bit closer with words. Which brings us to Love Letters. Rebecca Evans is here. Poet, essayist, published author, warrior. She's organizing Love Letter Tributes at Bing Studio in Boise. Rebecca Evans, good morning.

REBECCA EVANS: Thank you for having me here. It's just an honor. And yeah, let's talk about love.

PRENTICE: Okay. Rebecca, I'll start with this then and tell me if it's none of my business. Where are you finding love in February of 2023?

EVANS: Oh, my goodness. That's a great question. So, I have four Newfoundland and three sons. So, there’s an abundance of loud, fluffy, slobbery, messy love all the time. I'm in a sea of love and it's amazing. You could just cuddle a puppy. Like life is good, right? That and some comfort food, I think, if I'm honest.

PRENTICE: Well, I am counting nine poets participating in the Love Letter Tributes at Ming Studios on the evening of February 12th. That is Sunday, February 12th. So, Rebecca, introduce us to one of those poets.

EVANS: I am so honored to introduce you to Maggie Koger, who is just a very generous heart. Generous and my goodness, she's an Idaho native and she's taught over at BSU. Let's see, her new book is called What These Hands Remember. And Maggie is just an amazing human and poet. So happy to call the friend.

MAGGIE KOGER: I'm just embarrassed by that lovely introduction. Thank you, Rebecca.

PRENTICE: There's a lot of love coming out here,  So, Maggie, I'm going to ask you maybe to set the pace for us this morning. Can you share some of the words you've, you've jotted down lately about love?

KOGER: Oh, yes, I would love to. I had this inspiration from a line that was written by F Scott Fitzgerald. And what he said when he met Zelda. “It was the beginning of everything.” And so that's the title of the poem I'm going to read, which is kind of longer. So I'll just give you a teaser. It starts out. “So here it is, the beginning of everything. They're at a website, coffee shop, courtyard, picnic, shelter in a wagon, sleigh sedan or across the aisle on a bus, train, airplane. Your eyes meet and suddenly the rock you stood on turns to sand. And that's your first glimpse of that person that's going to it's just going to be the beginning of everything.”

PRENTICE: I adore that. Maggie. It's so interesting because all of a sudden, I'm thinking of, well, that's the only thing we have in common through the years, right? No matter what, no matter where, on rock, in a wagon, on a bus. As far as process. Can I assume, then, that that you will see a phrase or a passage - in this particular case, Gatsby - and and then that will just trigger or spark something for you?

KOGER: Oh, absolutely. Yes, we poets just depend on each other.And writers and poets and writers.

PRENTICE: Well, let's depend on Rebecca right now. Rebecca Evans. I'm going to put you on the spot. Can you share a few words with us this morning? I sure could use some.

EVANS: Yeah. I'll say a few lines, too. And I will say, my inspiration is everything. Like, it could be a line, it could be an image, it could be a feeling, it could be a dream. Like really just about anything can spark my writing and I just try to follow the words. It's on the page. So this is entitled Coffee with Only Cream. And when we were talking about love letters, I'll tell you when, after I read it, who this is too. But it starts off. “I wanted you to remind me to wear comfortable shoes and drink clean water. And remember that I need my coffee with only cream. And no, I'm selfish and I'm jealous and I'm difficult to love. But still, I wanted you to try. I wanted you to know that sunrise is my perfect time to write and not to scold me when I stay awake all night. And to listen to my rantings and join me in my chanting.” And this. This poem. You know, people talk about love letters, but I've been spending the last year in a relationship with myself, and I've been writing love letters to myself. So that's what this was the start of, which is I teach high school girls in the juvenile system. And every Valentine's Day, I ask them to pen a love letter. And then at the end of that, I have them address it to themselves after they've written it. So it's a super interesting process.

PRENTICE: Maggie, you jump in on this. Is it easier…Is it more natural to write about love, or is it harder to write about love compared to other things?

KOGER: Well, it depends on the state of your relationship. For one thing, when things are going well, it's pretty easy.

EVANS: No, for me, it's the opposite. I'm a better writer when I'm angry.

PRENTICE: Oh, talk to me. So is it about regret and reflection and anger for you?

EVANS: Well, for me, I think just in in fuel, I'm more fired to try to sort things out when things aren't going well. So I'll write more than when things are going well. I'm in it like I'm happy. I don't know. So I have very few really happy things that I've written most. Thanks.

PRENTICE: But, Maggie, you're looking through a lens, right, of where you are with love. And it's very particular with a particular person or persons.

KOGER: Tends to be that way. I think love can be spread around. I know some of our poems are focused on romance because of Valentine's Day, but the people who are reading are very, very, very loving group and they'll welcome anyone in the audience within. The poems that are very diverse. I mean, there's some racy, there's some funny, there's some super heartache, sad, there's friendship, love and romantic love and intimate love. So it's it's a douse of everything and infusion of love as far as the oceans can reach them in.

PRENTICE: Rebecca,  more than a few of us that are single bristle at Valentine's Day, or we try to ignore it. And good luck with that. But I'm guessing I think what I'm hearing you is that this speaks to us as well.

EVANS: Absolutely. And I think it's important, like regardless of your status, social status, as far as a relationship status, it doesn't matter. Like love is an experience and it's a choice. It is a choice. And so you can choose love. And if you're not in a relationship, I think you're always in one with yourself and you're always in relationship with the world around you, your community, you know, your family, chosen or otherwise. So you you can't get away from love. You just have to choose how you want to define it and look at it.

PRENTICE: Maggie Do you find yourself writing about something, not even knowing that you are writing about love? And in fact, in the end, product love is kind of, you know, in between the lines, right, of almost everything.

KOGER: Yes. Yes, absolutely. In fact, I have a love affair with the Boise River. I live next to it. And we walk there every day. And it just defines myself and my day. I know some people do their yoga in the morning. I get to look at the geese flying over. And the sunrise here in East Boise is awesome. It fills your heart with love if you love the things that are available to.

PRENTICE: Maggie. As we speak, I am looking out over just that from the studio. So thank you for that. Rebecca. How are you with Mornings?

KOGER: I'm not a great sleeper sign, both a night owl and a morning bird. And I love I love mornings because I feel, you know, if I am up before the world is up, it's super peaceful. I love that time. I journal every morning I do some sort of yoga every morning and I just, like, get grounded with myself and kind of set up for the day. It's just a really beautiful space where there's not phone calls and interruptions and bunches of emails and a incessant need to respond. You can just kind of be and that's a really peaceful, peaceful way to start the day for me anyway. So I love I love mornings and my coffee or tea too. Definitely.

PRENTICE: Well, all of a sudden I am not dreading Valentine's Day this year.

EVANS: So when we did our job. Maggie Yay!

PRENTICE: I don't know if I'm a test audience of demographic. That said, I can't get enough of wonderful writing, especially from the heart and now more than ever. So this is Sunday, February 12th, 7:00 PM at Bing Studios in downtown Boise. And she is Maggie Koger and she is Rebecca Evans. And thank you so very, very much. Best of luck with us and thanks for giving us some time this morning.

EVANS: Thank you for having us.

KOGER: Yeah. Thank you so much.

Find reporter George Prentice on Twitter @georgepren

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