Thursday, December 09, 2010

Of Readings and Readings

What makes a good poetry reading? I heard two rules suggested in my visit to the Wednesday Night Poetry Series last week: A crowd that listens and asks good questions, and an open in which everyone participates. I'll add a qualifer to the second: an open in which everyone who participates does so without self-promotion. I don't think it's necessary everyone in attendance read (in fact, I frequently repeat the line that great writing requires great audiences, too, not just other poets waiting for their turn at the microphone). But the WNPS crowd is genuinely a great audience - in the open presenting their own work, readings of classic poems, discoveries from newly uncovered books, etc. and paying such close attention to my invited reading that they were able to teach me something about my own presentation, noticing the musical modes I prefer and making observations about my delivery that surprised me. A great time.

And Sunday in Hoboken, my small but dedicated band of regulars gave a DeBaun and Symposia welcome to Joe Traum, who gave us the gift of some insight into his writing and editing process, as well as some entertaining excerpts from Waking Up. We don't turn out people by the dozen, but our audience contains some great listeners and the ends of our features almost always turn into Q&A.

Which, by the way, is a planned and eagerly anticipated part of the WNPS series, as well. There's something to this.....

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