Last nightâ€™s reading was another City Lights joy as most readings there are and this one even more so with the Small Press Distribution’s Poetry Trading Post in effect with a broad selection of poetry books ready to give away for one poem. For the record, I traded two poems from my in-progress chapbook (ripped em right out of the beta version Iâ€™m carryinâ€™ around with me) for a copy of Carl Hancock Ruxâ€™s Pagan Operetta. Huzzah!
The reading itself was focused and tight with readers coming up and delivering their poems with minimal hype. Host Laura Moriarty kept the spotlight on SPD, Small Press Month, the New Lit Generation, and the featured poetsâ€™ current projects while reminding the standing room only crowd the importance of supporting independent bookstores.
A special shout out should go to Anthony Boyd and Hong Le, the two youth poets representing Newark Memorial High. They came to the mic ready with their work and presented it with polish and style avoiding the mistake some older poets make of over explaining the work or forcing the audience into a set mind frame to better â€œlistenâ€ to the work. Their presentation showed confidence in their poems and the hard work it took them to reach the City Lights stage.
Props also to Javier Huerta who closed the evening out with a dynamite reading from Some Clarifications y Otros Poemas, an excerpt from â€œAmerican Copia,â€ the “Undocumented Poem to End All Undocumented Poems,” and a new found poem. Javierâ€™s poetry pockets are hella deep with layered poems that reveal new secrets at each reading and has me wishing I was able to jot down notes in my journal while still being able to record the reading.