Poetry Reading?

So, I’m trying to get this poetry reading started in Putnam, which is the nearest town with a town center to where I live. There’s a café there, the Victoria Station Café, which has agreed to host a reading there. Since one of Putnam’s most famous local events was the flood of 1955, which almost reached the doors of the building where the reading is going to be, we’re going to call the reading Flood Stage.

Tonight was the first event, and as first nights go, it wasn’t bad. N. and S. showed up and read a few pieces with me, A. was there but was embarrassed about forgetting something to read, and I. was there but didn’t join us. So in a sense we only had three, but in another way we had five. John was planning on coming, but something came up. There might be a core of 5-6 people there. The general format I’ve imagined is 5 readers reading 1 poem of their own each, 4 readers doing 2 original poems, and 3 readers doing 3 poems, with everyone reading one ‘cover’ before they do their own set. That’s not so much a poetry reading as a poetry circle, which is sort of what the owner wants anyway, until it has some self-sustaining energy. How long will that take? No idea.

It wasn’t the best night to do the first one: it took us a long time to get the publicity done, because we couldn’t agree on a starting date, and Jack McCarthy was playing in Westfield, and a lot of folks were kind of not sold on the idea that a reading could work here. It may not. But I’m still willing to try.

So, we’ll hold the second reading on Monday, April 28. Come on out to the Quiet Corner of Connecticut and join us for Flood Stage at Victoria Station Café.

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  1. It will take time for a local audience to build. Actually maybe independent audience is a better phrase. I’m thinking of the Speak reading Tony started in Uxbridge. It was originally attended my many Asylum regulars and semi-regulars. Over the course of a couple of years it drew some locals and some not-so-locals who found it interesting. The last time I went I think I was the only Asylum poet there.

    So give it some time to grow. It’s sort of like that wild yeast you used to make the bread. It’s out there, it just needs to be nurtured.

  2. It was a quiet night. You didn’t miss much. A Billy Collins poem, a few readings from Committed to Memory and the 1999 anthology of the best American poetry, and one poem by a local poet.

    A good way to begin, but not an immediate need for a strong voice. Interest and a potential community, but not an audience yet.

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