Saturday, January 19, 2008'll love it too.

Most of us writerly folk have a hard time imagining poetry as anything but an intimate interaction between reader and print. Consumption of poems, then, is usually relegated to quiet, out-of-the-way places like our own homes, the corners of coffee shops, or, if we are feeling particularly adventurous, a darkened booth at a local pub with only 1-2 other people in it. And when we do go to readings there is always an awkwardness regarding reception of the poems as they come; do we applaud after each one? do we wait until after whole reading is done? Why do we keep with us this idea of stoic respect for the writer audibly practicing his craft?
I think its two things, one, we don't go to enough readings to ever establish a new audience mentality,(when I hosted readings at a rock club I used to encourage those in attendance to treat it like a rock show, but it was tough to get people to do it), and two, that hearing poetry aloud is such a foreign experience our brains don't quite know what to do. But there is a way to remedy the situation. Go to PennSound...hear poetry.
PennSound is an ever expanding library of audio clips from poets past and present, and a few who are both (is anyone else shocked John Ashbery is still alive?). Most links can be downloaded from the site to your favorite mp3 player, so you don't even have to fully give up the secrecy of poetic interaction! A few recommendations: the entire Jack Spicer collection, its one of the few places to find his poems right now, and his lectures are kick-ass. also, Anselm Berrigan's reading at the Bowery Poetry Club. And if you really want to try something, play them out loud.

Play this out loud too...

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