In an effort to break out of a comfort zone, I decided that I was going into my reading on Tuesday for Kearny Street Workshopsâ€™ APAture Festival with a different game plan in mind: No banter.
Yep, thatâ€™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 didnâ€™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 doesnâ€™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