Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thank you, Deep Cleveland Poetry Hour

I had a great time at Deep Cleveland Poetry Hour last night. MugShotz Coffee House, the new host site since Borders closed, is right across the street from the high school in New Royalton, and a Friday night game was in full swing. There were cars everywhere, football p.a. and crowd noise, fancy coffee drink machine noise, and someone in the coffee shop was listening to a professional game on a laptop. Yet, even with all the distraction, there's nothing like reading to a room full of people who are really listening, who laugh and sigh and feel things with you. I love how poetry has a wide embrace, comes to the real places, and the poems at the open mic were about everything. It's the first reading in an un-moderated location, and the language was feeling its new freedom. Poetry is sort of a step-child in the arts; music, visual arts, film and fiction have done better bringing their lovers into the contemporary world. My friend was telling me recently, confessing, that she doesn't really know how to think about poetry that doesn't rhyme. I said she wouldn't expect to go into an art gallery and see only impressionism. Poetry is just engaging its medium in new ways. But the reading last night and readings like that going on all over the place remind us that poetry is also raw and political, it's about community, and weeping, and take that! you ridiculous boss, you vindictive -ex, you neighbor who leaves the dog out 27 days in a row. I like the way we can all find our own place in poetry - I don't go to slams, but I'm sure glad they're there. I don't read a lot of poetry that pushes against the borders of meaning, but I want those borders to be pushed. And more personally, when someone likes my book, or poem, it makes me so damn happy. And that happy, too, when I leave with someone's poem in my head, or hand, and carry it around with me, like the new thought that it is.

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