Poetry Update

I haven't done a blog update in ages. I think there's an inverse relationship between how much I'm working and how often I post on my blog. When I first started this thing, business was slow. I mean really slow. I mean sending applications to Starbucks slow. For the last few months, things have been crazy crazy busy, and it's been a lot harder to find the time and energy to keep this thing going. But I think that's enough excuses for one blog entry. This one is going to cover a lot of territory. It'll be more of a highlight reel than anything else.

This has been a good weekend for poetry. Friday night I caught the last two thirds of the reading at Rapp Saloon. I missed most of the open readers. Maitreyana did a song fragment she had written that I really liked. I did "Walking Down Winston" to an excellent reaction. The feature, Jaha Zainabu, was really powerful, both as a performer and as a writer. I can't speak highly enough about her -- it was an inspiring performance.

Saturday afternoon I hung out with a friend, Jen B., and had a number of great discussions about poetry in general and my poetry specifically. That was actually a lot of fun -- Jen had some great insights.

Saturday night was a really solid reading at Mia. The open reading was excellent -- Wayman Barnes read a new piece in the first person about a college kid that was howlingly funny. Charlotte O'Brien read a few damn fine pieces, including one of my favorites, Pele. (Referring to the goddess of volcanoes, not the soccer star.) Michelle Daugherty sang one of her songs (excellent) and did a rousing anti-feminist piece she had written in five minutes ten minutes before she went up. (How the hell does she do that?) Adam Lowis did a powerful piece about being homeless. Frankie Drayus was the feature, and did a damn fine set, including some pieces I had never heard that I really liked. (I bought her CD and discovered that her name is actually C. Frances Drayus. She won't say what the C stands for.) After the reading we went over to Norm's for a late night session of carbon-dioxide college. It was pretty amazing -- between the 10 or so people at the table, we had experts on just about every subject -- the conversation ranged from different martial arts styles to different classical categories of poetry to the origin of the Trinity in Christian doctrine -- and that was just the conversations I took part in.

Looking back a few weeks, my feature at the Rapp Saloon went really well. There was a decent-sized group of people -- about 20 or 25 -- and I got a great reaction. Three or four people individually described it as inspiring -- which I don't really see, but I'll take the compliment anyway. The only negative comment I got was from Bowerbird, who felt that I crammed too much stuff into the reading -- and I think he's right. I used my entire 25 minutes, and it's always a good idea to leave people begging for more. Still, I felt really good about the performance. I got closer to the kind of reading I'm trying for than I've ever gotten before -- conversational, without the performance overwhelming the poetry -- but with enough performance elements to keep the audience's attention.

A week or so after my feature at Rapp, I checked out a music open mike at Taix on Sunset in Echo Park. I was there with a few friends (Corbin E., John C. and Marie L.). It was an intimidating place -- everyone was there to hear music, not poetry (we were the only poets) and we discovered that you have to have a fairly loud, energetic presence or they simply won't pay attention. If you didn't grab the audience there, they would start shouting between tables and ordering drinks over your poetry. I did "Walking Down Winston," which got a great reaction -- total silence while I was reading, and then loud applause afterwards. I had Corbin keep an eye on two women who had talked through most of the previous musicians -- and when he said that they shut up for me, that was the best applause of all.

Leslie Neal has agreed a while ago to put together a chapbook for me -- and this week she said she has time to do it, and needs a manuscript. I've been working on the damn thing for months, but the sudden appearance of a deadline has kicked me into high gear. (I'm playing hooky from working on it right now.) Excited about finally getting something solid out there.

No hyperlinks in this blog version -- no time like the present, but no time at the present. I'll add them later.