My Recent Poetry Reading at Detroit’s Scarab Club

Nurturing the Will

I did a rare poetry reading/performance at the Scarab Club, Wed Jan 19, at 7 PM.  The other poets who read included Julie Patton and Scott Farrow.  The Woodward-Line poetry series is curated by Kim Hunter and James Hart III.

This was last week as I write this.  I don’t read my poetry “live” every year.  Sometimes years go by before I do a “straight poetry reading.”  That is, I usually perform my poetics with my puppet shows and the Spaceband. 

It was tricky getting there by bus, I just barely got there on time.

I’ve seen Scott read before.  He was quite good, doing his poetry then taking “musical breaks.”  He’d play the flute and the moog, then do more poetry.

I brought my 3-headed toy monster and my red cassette recorder up to the podium.  I’d carefully chose a lot of poems.  Some were recent while others went back to the 1980’s.  They were all from my “zine” The Poetic Express.

I read them, roughly in chronological order.  There were a lot of tall tales involving animals and monsters, a disclaimer, a surrealist recipe and more.  I had the audience responding and laughing, good.  There were poems dedicated to St. John Perse, Kay Sage, Captain Beefheart and more.

I finished with a poem for blues man Blind Willie McTell, which I sang ending “a young boy dreams of endless snow” a duly Wintry image.  It rhymed as did several others.  I read quite a few poems, for just fifteen minutes.

Julie Patton was excellent.  I hadn’t been familiar with her work.  She  said something like “Manhattan isn’t the same since it became one big shopping mall.”

Much of her poetry played with language.  One consisted of the letters of the alphabet especially set up and spoken.  A guitarist backed her up.  She sang some, even bring to mind the late, great Jeanne Lee a bit.

She finished one poem, going around “shooting” at the audience with at toy  (cork and string) pop-gun.

For her last piece, she passed out little instruments and noise toys to the audience to jam around her words. The guitarist was still playing too.   Toward the end, she invited Scott and I back up to join the jam where I joined in with words, whistling, singing, kazooing and more.

The Poetic Express:

Information on poet Julie Patton:

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