I met Diego Deleo when I was asked, a few hours before the event, to fill in as a judge for The Poetry World Series in October 2011. Diego had recently completed his first poem; he began writing at the age of 76, shortly after his beloved wife passed away, and wanted some assistance. He sent me the poem and I gave him some thoughts and helped him a little bit with his English, and he’s been writing up a storm ever since, sending me at least one new poem every month.
I feel like I’ve gotten to know Diego pretty well these past two years, and consider him my friend. I did a serious double take one day when another friend, Steffi Drewes, posted this photo of Diego onto Facebook; I had only seen him that first day, but recognized him instantly. Steffi’s caption:
Today a butterfly landed on this man’s hand and he asked me to take a picture as I passed him on Howard Street. Then he thanked me and gave me some poems he wrote. Ciao Diego!
If I had any doubts that it was my friend, the story confirmed it, and I was 100% sure that Steffi was handed poems that I typed up. Small, beautiful world!
One day recently I got the horrible news that Diego is being forced out of his home of more than 30 years (that link will take you to a profile KALW just ran on Diego, that you can read and/or listen to). His wish? Diego asked me if I would invite some friends over so we could have a reading in his house. There were about a dozen of us there sharing poems… and you should have seen the banquet he prepared for us! It was the sweetest night.
What you can see is our readings. Some of them. We did a round and then decided to do another that I didn’t film. Maybe you’ll enjoy our intimate readings. Maybe you’ll decide to invite some friends over for food and poems while you can.
We’re probably going to have another night at Diego’s soon. I can’t reproduce the loveliness any other way. xo
If you’re interested in being there, send me a line at evan at litseen dot com.
Photos by Gracie Malley: