Tuesday, February 23, 2010

POETRY: Leslie McGrath, Allison Joseph, two great readings last week

Last week was a great week for poetry as far as I can see.

Thursday night and Sunday afternoon respectively there were readings - a reading by  Leslie McGrath at PI New Haven at the Institute Library, and a reading by Allison Joseph at Labyrinth Books (both spots are in New Haven). I came away with two books of poetry  that I really like, and a feeling of expansive celebration from having deeply enjoyed everything!

The first book, Opulent Hunger, Opulent Rage is by Leslie McGrath who now coedits Drunken Boat -  an online journal of the arts. (It's multi-media in many ways). Her poetry is sumptuous, rich in sensual detail and metaphoric nuance. Her in-person reading style is earthy and warm as well.  A line I loved is "I am the cake. I do not fear the knife."  from her poem Self-portrait on a Milkglass Cake Plate. And just as a coda -the cover painting on  Opulent Hunger, Opulent Rage is by artist Doug Aaberg, design by Kirkby Gann Tittle. Nice job on the rich warmth with embodies the work. 

The second book is Voice: Poems by Allison Josephs who edits Crab Orchard Review. Her poetry has the strength of caft, surprise, and unexpected images. Her reading style is quiet and personal, yet clear and  revealing of meter, and occasional rhyme, in the most natural sounding way.  A line l like from the book is "If there is a poem in you, get it out by any means necessary - use pliers if you must, grab it with your bare hands." from her poem Extraction.  I like the cover image and would love to know its method but no artist is listed just an online photo purveyor.

 Allison has for years and years run the Creative Writing Opportunities mailing list which shoots out all sorts of opportunities including submission and manuscript calls, Adjunct professorships, artist residencies and numerous contests. She told me this was a labor of love, and I have to say to has enabled so many to get their work published.  

Now that i have talked about the poets, I have to talk about the venues. PI New Haven's Third Thursday Open Mic (formerly Word of Mouth) is at the Young Men's Institute Library on the second floor (around 847 Chapel Street? next to the tattoo parlor). Visit http://thepoetryinstitute.com for more information on this series and directions. Labyrinth Books, which is filled floor to ceiling with all sorts of books you won't find at suburban chainstores, has some wonderful events coming up..http://www.labyrinthbooks.com/events_calendar.aspx  
-- Mar Walker