June 15, 2009

Yes, Reading! -- June 12

The "last" in the series for this semester/season, or maybe not, at the Social Justice Center. I've been corrected for characterizing this series in a previous Blog as "grad students" (actually, I said "academics-to-be"). However, the series does have a decidedly different flavor than most in the area -- it doesn't include an open mic, it draws a noticeably different crowd of younger, college-age folk, than the other events, & often the readers, well at least the 2 readers tonight, are well-published professors. & no one claps between the poems, saving their soft hands for the end.

Tonight our tag-team hosts Colie Collen & Douglas Rothschild introduced local favorite Matthew Klane to introduce Deborah Poe, who had read at the UAG back in February & March 2008 (see my Blog entries) when she had read from a manuscript, now published as Our Parenthetical Ontology (CustomWords 2008). She also read, as she had on her earlier visits, from her project, "Elements," a series of poems based on the periodic tables. Tonight she included "Sulfur" & "Gold" & a couple of the new elements that exist only in the laboratories of experimental scientists (which seems like a metaphor itself for other experimental activities). While I connected with the things & colors in her poems they were the kind of pieces that are difficult to grasp at one hearing.

Our hosts then introduced, as a new student to the area, James Bellflower, who introduced Laura Sims with what I experienced as an unintentional parody of the fellow-academic-gush intro style that Bob Boyers at Skidmore has turned into high art. Fence Books, where Colie Collen works as an Associate Editor, housed at the Writers Institute at the University at Albany, has just published Sims' book of poems, Stranger. She read a number of sections, run together without titles as if one long poem. The poems are a fragmentary narrative about the illness & death of her mother, which could not help but be moving. She also read from a manuscript she was having doubts about calling "My God is this a Man?" which are a series of murder poems -- the audience seemed to like the title. Other work included what sounded like a processed text (as were the murder poems), "Infinite Reward," that seemed to include concrete poetry, but hard to tell without seeing the text, just listening.

You can find samples of both Deborah Poe's & Laura Sim's poems in A Sing Economy (flim forum press, 2008), edited by Matthew Klane & Adam Golaski.