My head is still a little dizzy from it. There’s still so much to think about after last night’s stellar East of Edith Open Mic at the Projects. I know that this word can easily be overused, but it was inspiring to see a full house on a Monday night for poetry; there were sixteen (yes, 16) poets on the open mic list last night, all of them reading intelligent, engaging and thought-provoking works of their own and poems by other authors, too. The flow of all the poems last night to me seemed quite remarkable; as the host, it was stunning to see how one poet’s contribution to the open mic seeming to perfectly complement the next poet’s contribution – this pattern carried out through the whole night and to me it almost seemed as if everyone was on the exact same wavelength – such a rare thing to witness and experience. And talk about range. The subjects for the poems last night were all over the map and just right. Survival of physical and emotional abuse, requiem, current and topical rhapsodies in snark, Bob Dylan, fantasy, terror, and fairy tales to name only a few of the places we were all taken to last night. There was so, so much range in the poems read last night; I have hosted hundreds of open mic nights in my time and I have to say that last night was one of the best.
It was (and is) an honor to host an event like this. I love how organically this reading is developing. It’s becoming quite strong, with its own characteristics fleshing themselves out week after week. In my experience it can take months, if not years, for a local poetry reading to begin to acquire the traits that this reading is already showing off. If you’re a poet and you’ve stopped by here for the first time today, reading this post, please come to the East of Edith and see for yourself what I’m describing here. A couple of quick words of thanks are in order here; thank you so much to all those who gave generously to the donation box; thank you to Mitch Rayes for hooking up the nice overhead fan and the new lights for the stage; thank you to Aaron Greenwood for bringing some nice fresh fruits for everyone, and thank you to Jules Nyquist for bringing some delicious pecans for everyone, as well!
Last night, in addition to the prize of getting to host East of Edith, I was also able to provide a (hopefully) fun prompt for the poets: share a phrase or a sentence, during your time at the mic, that you are sure no one could either begin a poem with or base a poem on. I’m anxious to learn (at some future point) what results may come of this. Here are the phrases I was able to collect, if you would like to try your hand at making a poem out of any of these results (if I missed a couple, I apologize; it was difficult to transcribe some of this as rapidly as they were delivered – I’m looking at YOU, Don McIver!):
“The Speaker of the House can be found on certain, but not all, beads of the Rosary.” – Reeves
“Literally nothing happened today.” – Krohn
“The road to salvation is a three-way with Palin and Beck.” – Greenwood
“When the doctors pulled the clarinet from my anus, I swore I’d have my revenge on that baboon.” – Maxson
“Great, I’m dead.” – Rayes
“The silly putty in his thong did not redound well upon the rebound.” – Crandall
“I ran into my grandmother at the orgy; my heart was a sinking galleon aboard the Titanic.” – Boucher
“A toast to Sir Edward Shakelton’s oldest bottle of whiskey, found buried & frozen at the South Pole.” – Nyquist
“Music goes up; music goes down; I speak but there is no sound.” – Dahvid
“Plutonium: I probably lit a candle – probably.” – Warren
Thank you so much to Kenneth, Bob, Aaron, Teresa, Jules, Jennifer, Mitch, Nate, Sari, Stewart, Striving, Dahvid, Susy, Don, Eric, and Sirena. And thank you, Lisa Gill, for entrusting me with doing this thing last night.
All the best,