Solid Quarter

Blood Jet Poetry Series in New Orleans, weekly poetry and music as well as open mic performances

Visit Trembling Pillow Press for poetry books, broadsides, chapbooks, and Solid Quarter Magazine.

Visit New Orleans Poetry Fest for the annual 3 day poetry festival directed by Bill Lavender and Megan Burns.

Megan Burns' Poeticsofbone&city project on Tumblr

Sunday, October 30, 2011

NOLA and Brooklyn Poets Collabs and Readings

Happy to have with us all week the amazing poet Tracey McTague, poet-mama, curator of all growing things at the Mother Ship, editor at Lungfull Magazine and one of the curators of the Zinc reading series. She joined us Thursday night at 17 Poets! Literary and Performance Series to read from a collaboration done with NOLA poet (Bucktown representin') Brett Evans. The collaboration began as a  project for the Boston Poetry Festival but it continues to flourish under the right circumstances, and we were happy to hear the two performing it live for our enjoyment. One of the constraints (joys?) of long distance collaborations other than the time delay in mailing (emailing) words across space is the lack of opportunity to hear the voice of the person you are working with: does the fictional voice you respond to parallel the flesh voice of the poem, and how does the work change when that intimate space of sharing and creating is breached and brought out into the public sphere?

The dynamic duo of Brett Evans and Tracey McTague were reunited again in under 24 hours to participate in the new series Left of the Dial hosted by poet Ben Kopel and housed at Euclid Records in the Bywater. Standing room only among LPs and waves of nostalgia, Brett Evans delivered his usual punch of wit, cynicism, and lyrical delight scraping the detritus of verbal spoofs, twists, and tongue twisters with comedic timing and surprising juxtapositions. Take for instance a series of poems titled "Versus Verses" which is both exactly what it implies with technicolor Evans panache:

"drunk tank vs. Panzer/ weeping willow vs Sword of Damocles/ emergency milk vs. needed ade/ Imaginary Friend vs. Bride of Mother-in-Law handshake/ Cross the Rubicon vs. Jump the Shark..."

From that surrealist game play, Evans turns towards a complicated invented form that involves a sonnet crossed with a cinquain crossed with Evans particular mode of transmitting the image along a play of word exchanges. "XIII" ends (in the sonnet form): "like I told you once in Oahu/ Suzanne Vega turned 50 today carbon dating/ reveals how long I've loved you"

Poet Tracey McTague celebrated her birthday in style by stepping up to the mic to share her blend of words and syllabic gymnastics to her soon-to-become new fans as well as the old. McTague's poems are like waterfalls, you have to just sit back and let them fall over you and just as your poetry eyes are lured into a slightly relaxed squint, the rainbows appear. McTague eschews narrative for the lightning connections made on the cerebral & subconscious levels allowing syllables and synapses to guide the jumps and ducks around the swirl of her language. Poems are filled with concrete nouns stacked up to create tumbling blocks of images as she sweeps around the puns and delicately trips among the catches and consonants that sing us our familiar sounds like a nursery rhyme. Suddenly, Shelley is standing mid-watered in his sea changed grave, a levee is made for breaching, a cup is turned over and your future falls out: That is the poetry of Tracey McTague.

 If these rock stars should grace a poetry venue in a town near you or perhaps you should wake up in the  middle of the night with the sweet sound of WHAM wafting through your walls: know you're in good hands. This review might be slightly biased as I adore WHAM, but who doesn't?

(photo by Michael Dominici)

Also, it's Ezra Pound's B-day. 

From Canto LXXXI

But to have done instead of not doing This is not vanity To have, with decency, knocked That a Blunt should open To have gathered from the air a live tradition or from a fine old eye the unconquered flame this is not vanity. Here error is all in the not done, all in the diffidence that faltered . . .

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