First up was the poet Rawaan Alkhatib, a poet & visual artist from Dubai. I could only describe her poetry as "reverent Dadaism." She read a number of short poems, then a longer narrative in word/sound play (doesn't all good poetry have word play?) a funny piece with the recurring phrase "world goat." Other poems in rhymes, half-rhymes, & even some more goats.
Colby Somerville read one long piece, from his iPad, with the repeating phrase, "When the evil shredder attacked…", apparently built on images from videos games, Japanese & kid show super-heroes, a sci-fi apocalyptic narrative, of sorts.
Corina Copp's work was more fragmentary, less musical than the others. However, she did offer some minimal context for her work, though without explanation. One piece was dubbed a "translation" (i.e., English to English) of Shakespeare's sonnet #59, another was an excerpt from what she described as a "strange" large piece, "The Flat Bed," a haphazard collage from other writers & screen writers. Copp was the only one with a book for sale, a flip-book from Ugly Duckling Press (2011) Pro Magenta/Be Met.
As I've said before, with experimental work such as the writing from these 3 poets who read tonight the readers would do well with some explanation of the method or technique the poets used to put together the text. I mean, you can't call it "experimental" without some idea of what the "experiment" is about. Is it a cut up? A random sortex of phrases from some other writer, or themselves? A stoned/drunken/insomniac rant (e.g., Ginsberg's "… lofty incantations which in the yellow morning were stanzas of gibberish"). In addition, all these poets read rather flatly, unexpressively, sort of the yin to the slam poets' yang, so that the words took on the abstract form of music, or at least of a drone.
|Robert Williams Taylor (left) & Jason Cust|
This provocative series is held sporadically during the academic semesters at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, donations appreciated. Friend them on FaceBook. You can get on their mailing list by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.