Poetry Readings & Exploring "Narrative"

(From the series "Objects at Home".)

The many poetry series in the Bay Area all tend to run on the academic calendar even if they aren't hosted or organized by a university. They seem to be dense and flourishing in fall and spring and quiet over the holidays and during the summer. In the last of couple weeks, I'm suddenly a busy audience member once again, trying to decide what poetry readings and performances I'll attend and which ones I'll sacrifice for a quiet evening at home.

A few weeks ago, I attended a poetry reading at Small Press Traffic featuring Bhanu Kapil and Dodie Bellamy. It was wonderful! This was the third time I saw Kapil read and I find her language so beautiful and intriguing that listening to her readings has a mesmerizing, transporting, even hypnotic quality. This was the second time I'd seen Bellamy read and she's a master of combining social commentary on sex and gender with wit, irony, and wonderful driving narration. Needless to say, this reading rocked my socks.

And it even inspired me to crack open a grad school book I never had the chance to finish, Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative. I highly recommend this anthology for anyone interested in the intersection of poetry and prose. Or further exploring the term "narrative". Or even experimental fiction (Think: very experimental like sometimes there is no plot, no defined characters, no legible time line, but plenty of gorgeous narrative writing).

Here's a selection from one of the essays in Biting the Error as these lines from Renee Gladman just about broke my heart in all the right places: "The bridge connects desire (to move, to articulate) to its object (destination, meaning). The sentence (bridge) interrogates as it performs; it fails as it performs. A work replete of such sentences ultimately asks more questions than it can answer; it gives up authority to wonder, it gives up completion for process."

So, if you're in the area, here are the spring calendars for three of my favorite reading series: Small Press Traffic, New Yipes, and Artifact. Cheers for poets and poems and Happy Monday!

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