In an effort to break out of a comfort zone, I decided that I was going into my reading on Tuesday for Kearny Street Workshops’ APAture Festival with a different game plan in mind: No banter.
Yep, that’s right. Try to go through a whole set with out trying to affect or change the mood of the audience and let the poems speak entirely for themselves. Considering that I only had 5-7 minutes of time on the mic I figured it would be a good time to try this experiment out but at the last minute the game plan changed and I had 10-12 minute set to work with.
So how did it go? Well, I pretty much pulled it off. I started off the set thanking the KSW folks for letting me read then threw a shout out to Truong Tran and all the folks in my workshop and then went right into it:
– How much for the building (tenants optional)?
– God Loves A Liar
– Unsolved Crimes Perpetrated by Invisible Men as Reported by an Unreliable Witness
– This Wednesday
– The War on TV
– Who we be
– Restoration #6
– I’m Jus Askin
The only commentary I mixed in was making sure folks knew where the cover poem came from but other than that it was all poems, all the time.
While I did like the set and how the audience received it, I will also say that I didn’t enjoy just going from poem to poem. Not because I feel the need to explain every poem but I do like acknowledging the audience and the energy they are bringing to the reading. This is particularly important to me since I feel more people should not only attend more literary events but they should also feel empowered to react and respond to the work they hear at those events which doesn’t mean I am going to be running a poll while I am reading but it does mean I will try my best to let the audience know they are appreciated.
And since I didn’t get to talk about the poems during the set, I’ll give ya some quick background:
– All the poems come from Truong Tran’s Poetry & Politics workshop which is where I got all those nifty writing assignments I have been posting the last few weeks.
– Chung’s subway poem was a serious hit and reading Crazy Melon and Chinese Apple during this workshop time helped me a lot with both my language and my view of City.
– I was surprised as to how animated I was in reading some of the poems.
– Jeff McDaniel’s arsonist poem was the inspiration for Restoration #6.
To sum up, it was a nice experiment (and one I may revisit in the future) but I think it was just that: an experiment.
Photos from the night can be found over at mochamonkey.com