Got Poetry Live

Went to Got Poetry Live in Providence, RI last night. It was my last one for a while, becauseo of school. I planned on saying good-bye to some folks, because school will be in session next week and I won’t have the chance to do it again until Thanksgiving time or something like that, unless I trade time off with my co-dorm-master. did come with me, which was so nice; it’s good to have her there.

Patricia Smith () featured. She did a kick-ass set (did we expect anything less? No. Did we come away wanting more? Yes.) I only wrote down one line, but I was energized and hungry for more when she was done: “A star has got to be perfect before God lets it fall.” Thanks to Patricia for the only words said sensibly on the subject of Hurricane Katrina.

I did another improv piece, which I am not at all happy with. It’s funny, when you’re done improving something good, you really want to sit down and take notes and try to reconstruct it. Not last night, not for me. It wasn’t really ready to go. wants me to do my entire set-list during my feature. I have to think about how to prep for an improv feature. It’s not at all the same thing as performing a set poem with a written structure; anyone have any advice on how to prepare an improv piece?

The open mic was varied and good. did a piece called Foster which I had read and liked (and mourned over), but hadn’t heard. It stands up to a reading, and it’s a strong piece. did a poem about scarab beetles, and how we grow up to hate insects and each other, largely by learning behaviors from others. did a poem which was very short and jewel-box-like: you open it, expecting to miss it, and then you find yourself sorting through all the things packed into such a tight, shiny space. I was out of sorts and distracted during the open mic, though, and I didn’t really take notes on the poets this week; like Jack McCarthy, who taught me the trick (and the point) of taking notes so that I listen better, I find I focus more during the reading if I make some notes. If I don’t take some notes, then I’m grasping at mist when the night is done — I can tell you that I liked some poems, but not what I heard. Very well. I’ll take notes.

There were a lot of 9/11 poems; I find myself, as always, drifting between wondering if New York=9/11/01 was equivalent to the first Sack of Rome, which set the Roman Republic on a quest for security that ended with Empire; or whether it was the second Sack of Rome, which brought the Empire to an end. The curious thing is, it’s a little bit of both, which means that it’s really neither, and it’s its own thing. I’ll have to ponder that.

2 comments

  1. I couldn’t see the room, or see the reaction. It’s so hard to do this at times, so easy at others. I wish it were possible to figure out what mental state I needed to be in to work this way, and seize that mood/state when I wanted it, instead of having it strike at random.

    This is part of the reason why I’ve been doing the improvs in Providence; I want practice at doing it.

  2. was great to see you & hear you improv last night. don’t sell yourself short, A – it was a good poem you pulled out of your hat. you had the whole room craning in to listen ♥

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