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Friday, April 29, 2011

Tuesday, April 26

Diane Wahto
© Lydia Lowe  4/26/2011

     April is coming to an end, and so is the poetry series for the year, 2011.  Diane Wahto was the last poet to read for the series.  Once again, a nervous poet and her reading reflected that fact.  It's too bad really.  As I was unable to locate any of her poems to read before her performance.  Apparently she has yet to publish her first book.
      Being unfamiliar with her work, not having seen it on the page so that I could pause and reflect, it was difficult to understand quite a lot about her poetry.  Diane even mentioned that she thought her poetry was best read from the printed page rather than read aloud.  I'm afraid that in many ways I simply didn't understand her poetry.  When you factor in her nerves at reading to an audience, it was a double whammy.  I didn't seem to be the only one who was having trouble with her delivery and her poems.
     With that said, I did enjoy one of her poems immensely.  It was titled, "English Majors In Love".  This poem was hilarious.  I think the reason it resonated with me is due to the fact that I was an English major.  The basis for the poem is that English majors tend to talk about the mechanics of the language, as though this is tremendously important, while they miss the central ideas behind what is being communicated.
     I did enjoy the quips and stories that Diane told before and after the poems she read.  She has a distinct way of talking and relating information to people.  She was a teacher for most of her life.  When she was relaxed, most at home, was when she simply spoke to the audience from her heart.  I think that as she does more readings and gets her poetry out there for people to read, she will loosen up more which will provide a much more audience friendly atmosphere.

      Join me again next year, in April, for a new round of poets during National Poetry Month.  Spring is in full gear and soon summer will be heating up.  So keep checking in here at "ReVue" for more on art and entertainment throughout the spring and summer.

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.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12

© Lydia Lowe  4/12/2011

     This week's poet was Nedra Rogers.  I had checked out Nedra's book, "Soul's Night Out", at the library in preparation for this week's reading.  I fell in love with her writing and her poetry really spoke to me.  So, I was looking forward to hearing her read and getting a chance to meet her in person.
     Nedra is very unassuming and somewhat reserved.  She was nervous and her delivery didn't come off well.  It was to bad, too, because her work is exceptional.  It was interesting that when she simply spoke to the audience from her heart, she relaxed and was funny, interesting, and insightful.  When she began to read her poetry, she tensed up and had a bad case of nerves.  I think it's because her poetry is very important to her, it speaks from her heart and she wants so badly for others to understand her journey.  
     I had read the poems earlier and was familiar with them.  It's always worthwhile to see the actual author read in person.  But for those in the audience who hadn't read the poems, I believe they struggled somewhat with knowing when one poem ended and the next one began.  They didn't know when to clap, when or how to react.  
     All in all though, it was a very unique experience and I wouldn't have missed it.  Nedra is very approachable, easy to talk to, and had a smile on her face most of the time.  When she read her poems the emotion was raw in her face, her voice, her demeanor.  It pulled people in, made them feel comfortable and at ease.  Nedra did begin to feel more at ease as the night wore on, too.  I think she just needs some additional time speaking to an audience.
     If you get the chance to go and hear her in person or purchase her book, I definitely would do both.

Next week's poet: Harley Elliott


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tuesday, April 5

                                                     ALBERT GOLDBARTH
                                                    © Lydia Lowe  4/05/2011

     In preparation for the first poet of the poetry series, I checked out a couple of Goldbarth's poetry books at the library.  I perused them.  Then I went to the reading and had a chance to talk to the poet afterwards.  I'll have to say that everything about Goldbarth is consistent.
     As an aside to Goldbarth personally, before I get into my review, just because you drop the "F" bomb, a lot, that does not make you one of the hip cool kids.  It just means that you didn't know enough of the language to find the appropriate words to express yourself.  Also, throwing in "sex talk" just because you can when it has absolutely nothing to do with your poem, apparently you were going for some kind of shock value due to lack of content.
     That said, let me continue with my review.  There is an old adage that states "if you can't say something good about someone, don't say anything at all".  So with that in mind just let me say that with regard to the poetry books, the reading and the personal talk that I had with this poet, well. . . . . .
     If you get a chance to see and hear this poet at a reading, I would skip it. 

Next weeks poet:  Nedra Rogers

April Is National Poetry Month!

     Welcome Spring!  It's April and that means it's National Poetry Month.  During the month of February the Salina Public Library and Moka's Bakery and Bistro feature poetry readings every Tuesday night in April.  The poets being featured this year are all Kansas poets in honor of Kansas' 150th birthday.
     The schedule looks like this:
                         April   5  Albert Goldbarth     Professor at Wichita State University
                                 12   Nedra Rogers         "New Voice" Award Winner
                                 19   Harley Elliott           Salina Poet & Visual Artist
                                 26   Diane Wahto          "New Voice" Award Reader
     Come back on Wednesday's, each week in April and find out more about each author and how the reading went the evening before.