Tuesday, February 21, 2012

octaves are stacked vertically

Read at Town Square (a monthly Baltimore reading series) on Sunday and did pretty well, I think. Now I'm gearing up for Last Rites on the 26th and trying to figure out what to read.

Someone in the audience on Sunday who'd seen me read before told me that he'd like to hear my more serious work, i.e. what I considered to be literature rather than the goofy poems and fake telegrams I usually bust out at readings. Poetry isn't a serious endeavor for me - it's more of a space where I can break rules and ignore the language requirements and narrative restraints of fiction, and it's also a holding tank for my dumber, sillier ideas that don't have a place in my short stories/novel/whatever. It's also, especially recently, a mechanism through which I can entertain and get my name out there.

That said, I wonder if anyone else is curious about how I write when I'm not dicking around and trying to make myself laugh. I may very well try out something from my upcoming MFA book (assuming there's something short enough to read in there) and see how audiences respond to work that isn't intended, first and foremost, to amuse them. It would also be a test for me to see if I can read that stuff and still be engaging.

Before I go, I should also mention that I read Hoa Nguyen's Hecate Lochia for book club this month, and liked it way more than I thought I would. The blurbs all describe it as a book of poems about motherhood, which is hardly uncharted or interesting territory, but instead it's a book of poems about how, in the context of war and economic instability and famine and political implosion, suburban American motherhood is a symbol of safety and stability and privilege. There's other stuff in there too, of course, but that stuck out to me immediately, given the book's marketing.

All right, gotta eat. Ta.

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