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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tuesday, April 19

© Lydia Lowe  4/19/2011

     A Salina resident and poet, Harley Elliott, took the stage on Tuesday night to read from his new book, "Fugitive Histories". Harley was the third poet in the Spring Poetry Series. I believe I can safely say that a good time was had by all.  
     Harley shines as a public speaker.  He is at home in front of an audience and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats listening for those subtle shifts of perspective in his poems.  He was able to hold my attention whether it was an introspective poem, a serious poem or something more humorous.  Real feeling comes across as Harley talks and he connects with the audience on a variety of different levels. I felt like I was the only one in the room and he was speaking only to me.  It is a rare talent that can do that when faced with a large audience.
     Reading from a variety of his published books, Harley read several poems from each book.  My favorite and I would have to say, the audience's favorite by the crowd's reaction, was a "found poem".  This was a conversation that Harley overhead while children played in his front yard inside an ornamental bush.  The poem was in two parts.  The first part was the conversation between the children and the second part was Harley's conversation with the children.  This poem was written in such a way that I felt as though Harley was simply recalling a conversation with me, due to the way it was written.  It was in prose form instead of a standard poetry form.   The poem, "   " (unfortunately I cannot remember the title but I am on the hunt to find it, and I'll report back here when I do), was so funny that I laughed until I cried.
     Nothing draws a crowd in like shared emotion.  Harley's poems delivered this and more.  If you missed this poetry reading, you missed a lot.  If you get a chance to hear Harley read his poems, make haste and go there to hear him, immediately!

Next week's poet: Diane Wahto.

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