East of Edith Countdown #8–Remember that card game?

Did anybody else like playing crazy eights as a kid? I did.

Then in high school I learned to view an 8 on its side as an infinity symbol.

My third significant 8 encounter came immediately after my childhood lapsed. I became  an “early” guinea pig for EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing), which is a treatment protocol now sometimes used with success for PTSD. Ideally it stimulates each side of the brain individually, and by going back and forth from hemisphere to hemisphere,  increases conductivity. Theoretically (in my colloquial language and odd interpretation), such stimulation might allow traumas to get out of their burbling stew pockets, releasing some pressure in a controlled way, and perhaps even strengthening the bridge between hemispheres of the brain aka the corpus callosum. Back then, in 1990, EMDR was still a bit woo-woo, and my rather scientific-type psychiatrist was in western woo-woo training, so our woo-woo session was witnessed by video camera and a line of “judges” behind a one-way mirror. What she did was make the infinity symbol over and over and over with her finger, and I tracked the tip of her manicured nails making fallen figure eights with my eyes until I splattered memories all over the walls… too much, too fast, too uncontrolled. She didn’t realize the power of the tool she was wielding. Later, with non-figure eight techniques and skilled therapists for trauma, I’ve had good luck with EMDR for diffusing stressors and traumas, and perhaps even fattening up some signal function on my corpus callosum which I need because it shows damage from both trauma and disease.

What does all this have to do with East of Edith?

A. Limits are good. 

B. And I like 8’s.

This year we will only be offering ten total East of Edith open mics as part of our whole programming and for the 8th East of Edith open mic in LPG’s countdown, I really wanted a good one. Consequently this Monday April 8th, 2013, we will kick off our usual open mic with a film strip “lecture” by Jenette Issacson, where she goes “green” and repurposes old archival footage from the Basement Films archive to perform alongside–a stunning one-two punch offering new insights and utter and perfectly-timed hilarity…  And we’ll also showcase the work of “America’s Art Philosopher” and  TIME Magazine’s Noodler-of-the-Year, Zine-Blogger Extraordinaire Eva Avenue (see her website http://nightlynoodlemonthly.com/).

217_12143226339_3733_nEva TIME II

(You can see Jenette’s face pictured among “The Tickler” heads–she’s the one with really good eye shadow, smile, … and the about time shot of Eva  is by Bradford Erickson)

Both of these artists fulfill what I consider the minimum requirement for good art: authenticity and ardor.  They do what they do because they love it and because it makes perfect honed sense in their own minds –and the audience gets to revel and learn and celebrate human spirit. (WE’ll also be seeing if poets would like to try their hand at Jenette’s craft with a workshop and opportunity coming in May—it’s pretty pretty fine and wild opportunity and I hope some people are interested.)

All this is kindly hosted by Mitch Rayes, who not only runs the Projects as a venue for all kinds of events, but also stepped up to be a seasonal coordinator for LPG, and now takes his stint in the role.

2006-02-06 14.05.08

So come out and enjoy. 7 pm at 3614 High Street NE (just east of Edith and north of Candelaria through the open garage doors)

__________That Was the PROMO and Here is the Philosophy______

Why not more east of Edith open mics?

Less is more. (All poets should know this.)

And, more differently is more. Or, more differently is at least different. (Change is good and can indicate growth and adaptation to shifting needs).

In Local Poets Guild’s first two years of going official, we did a ton of public readings and performances and panel discussions and poetics talks, as well as a variety of workshops from craft to writing to heal,  and much outreach into non-traditionally-poetry avenues. We were able to stretch the cash value equivalent of a few fancy features within an institutional setting into over 100 events each year —a true feat which we could do  because we’re not an institutional setting and because we could and did willingly and gratefully add mountains of volunteer labor, plus good ole Burque-style long-cultivated grassrootz chutzpah, and this community’s ever-strengthening enthusiasm for poetry.

By working with a baseline philosophy built on collaboration and community building, we helped seed poetry well into the fabric of the city… from readings at 516 Arts and Church of Beethoven/Chatter, to events at Globalquerque, Acequia Booksellers, the Outpost, the Guild, Basement Films, Burque Bioneers,  the Pride Parade (thanks to OUTspoken and all our collaborators)… and much much much much more… including a mountain of off-the-radar work, like making references for poets to people looking for performers, or answering queries from magazines and journalists wanting to do articles, writing letters of rec, offering advice on magazine submissions or how to put together applications for grants  etc. In general, I’ve witnessed, and had the pleasure to participate in, lots and lots of good dialogue, good networks, all the while good friendships being built.

And East of Edith weekly open mic and feature is part of that foundation and comprised about a quarter of our efforts, and it was an important part of the whole. (I’m a firm believer in the value of an open mic for about 10,000 reasons which I’ll address in more detail in a later post).

All that said, seeds grow. Seeds grow everywhere. They spread, they take hold, they strengthen. It’s good. We have a good community  and lots of good people step up to the plate. Needs get met. Writers find voice and outlets and continue developing individual craft. In turn, audiences get to hear good work and learn the ways poetry can inform living and participate if they want.

Everywhere people learn and grow and support each other and sometimes even thrive…

And this currently very solid and well diversified foundation of literature in our town means that organizations who want to support New Mexico’s literary voice get to ask what’s next? How can we help?

Local Poets Guild is at that point now. We get to say, what do we want to build? How do we take the knowledge from our own efforts and ask what worked and how can we strengthen that? what didn’t and what did we learn? What was good but could go farther? what got missed? Essentially, how can we step up to the next level–and importantly, what are the particular strengths and gifts we have to offer and how can those be brought to best fruition?

My primary interests remain two-fold:

–how to cultivate and support good writing and high levels of authentic craft

–and simultaneously how to allow the private take-home work to get into the world.

And by world I mean world. And by home I mean anywhere you can use your own brain.

My own particular life experience means none of this can be considered without taking into account the impact of poverty, violence, and disability issues.

What I find compelling right now is the possibility that truly attending to the needs of disabled and marginalized-for-any-reason writers  might actually support and dovetail perfectly into both national/international outreach for all writers. Access  for someone like me, who is currently largely homebound, will also mean access to someone in Brooklyn or Australia.  I see ways to begin to open this kind of virtual door… I mull and ponder and develop strategies… During the summer, that development will be my main task, work that later I hope will allow different kinds of opportunities and archive that could hopefully benefit all kinds of people…

For now, enjoy East of Edith as we do our countdown, and since I am mostly homebound now, I’ll be there watching via skype transmitted on another kind poet’s machine, and that’s what I’ll keep doing until we get streaming capacities figured out and launch our restructure…

And we’ll see what shapes up!

here’s to our good town–

lisa gill

The short list, we just featured Jenn Givhan #9 and Rich Boucher #10

#8 is Eva Avenue and Jenette Issacson on 4/8

#7 is a poetry-n-jazz showcase with TEO 315 plus poetry by Bill Nevins 4/15

After that, we have to look forward to include an LA Triptych with Peggy Dobreer, Brendan Constantine, and Michael C. Ford on 5/13, and a book celebration with Teresa Gallion on 5/22. Much soon…

–lisa gill