We had a nice crowd at Sunday's Spoken Word Series event - 15 people counting the late arrivals and early departures, about half invited directly by featured reader Jessica de Koninck. Jessica read mostly new poems, commenting early on that many people find her work unhappy; that's certainly true of her firs book Repairs, which is advertised as a meditation on loss (I find it more a coupling of the ordinary details of keeping on with the extraordinary feelings of absence and familiarity that accompany the passing (or leaving) of someone close.
The poems that Jessica read - about her children, about cooking her Grandmother's traditional dishes - were exactly what I find most compelling in the poems I like: The discovery of something extraordinary in an otherwise ordinary observation. Jessica's are poems written from a grounding tradition without being "traditional" poems - they don't celebrate tradition explicitly so much as they find the pointer in the tradition that directs us back to ourselves.
Jessica does less embellishing between poems than many readers, but still was comfortable when one of our regular called out for an encore (fairly common in our events...). All in all, whether the poems had a bit of darkness in them or not, it was an entertaining afternoon. Jessica's been busy with appearances around NJ lately; catch her when she visits your area!