Jen Coleman is one of the editors of PomPom. She read this poem, which was hilarious. She decribed it as a "translation" from Lao-Tzu. She also gave us poems about dead boyscouts and a census of the fishes, among other things. Here are some other poems of hers, including two visual/collage type things. While she was reading, I noticed a lot of humor, and a love of repetitions and variations.
Frank Sherlock wasn't there, but this poem, and a couple of others, was read in his stead by CA Conrad, who read some of his own poems --the Frank poems, which I gather are becoming a book of their own. I liked them a lot, and as my mother might say, "Of course you would." They have a somewhat Charles-Simic-like turn of the absurd (remember that poem about Simic's grandfather and Freud silently fighting over a pair of shoes in a shop window? Something like that, maybe). I was also interested because I've been working on a series of poems involving a "character." Not too much like Frank, who seems like an everyman of the bizarre, but with some of the same absurdities and weird twists involved.
Sorry not to be more descriptive, but readings always invigorate me to write; they give me ideas and help me figure out what makes my voice different from others. So, I sat there, as I've sat at every reading I've ever attended, scribbling furiously in my notebook with the readers' poems turned into a sort of jazz-background to my own muse. Not that I lacked complete attention to what was going on. Jen Coleman's poems, I noticed, seemed to have "soft landings." When they ended, there wasn't necessarily a reason for them to be over, that I noticed, although that may partially have been ambiguous inflection. Most of my work, the parts that I really like, end with a big PERIOD. Not that I'm dropping anvils on the reader, I hope, but I think that the English sonnet influences my work in the way it unfolds. Question/Conundrum -- Discussion/Wallowing -- Conclusion/Apocalypse. So it goes. I'm often annoyed when my endings are (I think) insufficiently conclusive. Maybe I can learn to back away from that. Or maybe I don't want to. Ending your poems with a shattering gonglike noise may not be the worst habit.
I'll probably check out the Segue reading next week, too. Huzzah.
This year, the bug started due to reading Silliman's Blog, where I heard about this movement called the New Brutalists, and from there the Ellipticals, and I realized that I'd fallen behind the times. I also felt ready for an injection of new ideas into my own writing.
I'm still growing as a writer, figuring out my poetics. After three years of isolation from other poets, due to geography and work, I'm just starting to peek out from my hole and learn what's going on in the world and interact with other writers. It's my hope that this blog will furnish a forum that will hopefully draw interested people into my circle, and I into theirs.
Expect new and moderately exciting posts soon. In the meantime, if you've got a website you think should be on my sidebar, let me know in the comments.