*A title like, looking through the cloud cover seems appropriate for a cloudy town like Portland, although it has been quite nice lately.
In my last post I had mentioned that I would follow-up on the events of the Whisper Sessions, and on what type of personal inspiration came out of watching and listening to some new poets.
The first weekend in May brought some more poets through town. Portland has a lot of local poets so this collection of men and women are just a fraction of the people who are creating words and images with their tongues. That said, they are not the only writers in town, but still, I enjoy this particular jungle of people.
One thing I really like about Write Bloody Publishing is their touring policy, meaning that if you get signed on with Write Bloody and if you are published with and by them, you have to tour. I think this is great. It is a way to get your voice out and to see the country, possibly the world. This may just appeal to my deep love for travel and exploration, but who cares, I like it all the same. Plus, when you tour you are meeting a completely different America than say the America you meet when you road trip or when you tour in a band, because you are meeting people who love poetry, and you’d be surprised at the number of closet poets out there.
Now that summer is nearing I am reminded of my first touring experience with Inviting Desire. Touring across Canada to the huge theatre festivals. I met so many amazing writer actors, that thanks to the creepy world of Facebook, I am able to keep up with and see what they are doing. Many of them have spent this last year getting ready to tour the Fringe once again. Wish I could go, some other time. Anyway, Back to the poets, Whisper Sessions is organized by Paul G. Maziar a new local poet, new in the sense that he has just moved to Portland from New York, not new as a poet. He puts these together whenever three or more Write Bloody writers are in town. The first weekend in May we got, Michael Roberts, Josh Boyed and Anis Mojgani, along with Paul. Carrie Seitzinger stopped in to read one poem. The touring poets are Michael Roberts with his new book of poems No More Poems about the Moon, and Josh Boyed with Catacomb Confetti, the other three live here in Portland, and are not currently touring (as far as I know).
Possibly fifty people were packed into the warm Albina press on Hawthorne, to hear these poets read. They stood up in round robin style and read from their books or from previous work. The round robin style is great because it prevents you from getting attached to just one poet, you are able to see all their different styles and nuances one after the other. There was a real feel of place in many of their poems. This is sometimes my favorite work; the poems that put you in a location, like the bayou where the air is thick and slow, or a cold prairie with frosted tips of yellowed grass that turn the landscape into glass. I love to be taken to places I have never visited or to be reminded of places I have once traveled. And of course many of the poems were about relationships and life, things we can all relate too. Afterwards I just wanted to go home and write. There was a young man in the audience, many of their following seems to be young, like teens and people in their early twenties (I think this is mainly because teens and people in their early twenties are all about finding what is new what is going on in the world, versus getting caught up in “everyday life” thank god for that or I would never have discovered Another State of Mind, which introduced me to Youth Brigade and Social D. when I was fifteen which completely altered my life, seriously I’m a different person because of that small musical discovery thank you Night Flights). This boy with dyed black hair, wore an antique military style jacket, was dressed in greens and blues, and had a licence plate that he wore around his neck like an adornment. He used a walking cane, I think he was visually impaired, but was able to see somewhat. He walked up to Anis requested the poem Direct Order. As Anis read, this boys face lit up like he was on fire. He joyously clapped his hands together as a gleeful smile tore across his face. He turned to the woman who was with him, his mother or guardian and said, “I’m so happy”, and gripped his hands into small excited fists. These are the moments the poets miss, they don’t know what happens in the audience when they are on the stage. They know people like them, but they don’t see the real impact they make on some people. I feel pretty honored that I am in the audience, and I get to see these moments.
As for myself, the next morning I went to breakfast with everyone, and I sat and spoke with Matty Byloos about writing, then I went about my day which involved a lot of bike riding. Later, I went home and wrote two new poems, and since then I have edited about eighty pages of my three hundred page manuscript.
It feels good to be inspired, inspired by watching and listening to people do the very things that I do. I don’t know if I will ever be where they are now, if I will ever have a book of mine in my hands, or if there will be a young person joyfully clapping that I read their favorite poem or scene, but I also don’t know if that even matters. After all, I’m not leaving a legacy, I’m just trying like everyone else to live happy, and writing makes me happy. It better make me happy because it sure as hell doesn’t feed me!
Here is some more Anis, performing the poem that the boy had requested. There are three poems, the first is Direct Order (Rock out) the total of all three poems is a little over nine minutes.