Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fermenting Twin Ports Poetry Scene Produced Exquisite Moments in 2013

The first section of this blog post appeared in The Reader as part of a 2013 Arts Year in Review feature. The second half was gracious submitted by Kathleen Roberts of the PROVE Gallery, Duluth.

"Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance." -Carl Sandburg

Opportunities to hear live poetry in the Twin Ports seem as pervasive as good views of the lake from Skyline Drive these days. This comes as no surprise to those following this subset of literary arts as a number of nationally recognized names have connections here, including Barton Sutter, Louis Jenkins, Jim Northrup and internationally honored lyricist/bard Bob Dylan.

Even a casual observer can see that the poetry scene here has become increasingly integrated with the avant garde arts scene. 2013 gave ample opportunities to experience this first hand. For example, Adeline’s Salon hosted a poetry event in July with four featured poets followed by an “open mic” involving other poets present. Pineapple Arts on 1st Street drew a large crowd of all ages to a poetry event in June. Double Dutch, the relatively short lived business at the intersection of Lake and Superior, hosted several art and poetry events in conjunction with the Second Friday art crawls. Poets Lewis Mundt and Bob Monohan were among those who gave readings there.

Dylan Days this year incorporated an afternoon to poetry featuring many of our more familiar local names sharing poetry inspired by Bob Dylan’s music and poetry. Former Duluth poet laureate Sheila Packa served as moderator of the event that took place in the Zeitgeist Atrium.

Twin Cities poets have also found a warm welcome from our local literary arts scene which is a-swirl with the energy of youth. Award-winning Minneapolis poet Dobby Gibson shared his work at a well-attended evening at the PRØVE Gallery where several other poetry readings have taken place in conjunction with the art and music of their Second Friday openings. (Special thanks to Kathleen Roberts for championing the poetry action there.) And Sierra DeMulder, 2-time National Poetry Slam champion, gave us a piece of her heart at one of our newest arts venues, The Underground, formerly the Duluth Art Institute Children’s Museum space.

The poetry highlight of 2013 for me personally was veteran poet Al Hunter’s Beautiful Razor: love poems and other lies at Trepanier Hall in March. What made the reading compelling was the accompaniment by a set of guest musicians that included Kathy McTavish, Frank Montana, Michael “Waabi” Furo, Jake Vainio, and Larissa Desrosiers. The eclectic instrumentation – cello, flute, guitars, keyboard – produced a wonderful backdrop of sound that served to amplify the sometimes haunting, sometime melancholic emotion in the readings. It was a night to remember.

Al Hunter shares from Beautiful Razor

Poetry events this year included…
January: Sharkhooks at Double Dutch
February: Bitters art exhibit and poetry reading, featuring Lewis Mundt, Seth Feralin, Kat Mandeville, Amy Lynn, Paris Kelvakis, and Kathleen Roberts
February; Warner Reading Series presented Bob Hicok at Somers Lounge
February: St. David's Day open reading
March: Al Hunter's 'Beautiful Razor' book launch at AICHO
April; Cracked Walnut Reading Series at Prøve Gallery, featuring Ryan Vine, Bob Monahan, Joe Maiolo, Mary Bue, Sheila Packa, Julie Gard, and Tina Higgins
April: Minnesota Book Award Finalists read at Prove, featuring Jim Johnson, Patricia Kirkpatrick, and Dore Kiesselbach (not present: Todd Boss)
May: radio pluto, including spoken word and motion poems from many local artists
May: Prøve Gallery and Duluth Superior Film Fest host Lynette Reini-Grandell w/ Venus DeMars, featuring Kate Harrison and Kathleen Roberts
May: Daylan Days poetry event at the Zeitgeist Atrium
June; Poetry Show at Amazing Grace, featuring Briana Zora, Seth Feralin, Lewis Mundt, and me June, radio pluto opening at Carbon Chroma in Northeast Minneapolis, featuring many local artists and poets
June: Open Mic at Pineapple Arts with featured musical guests Crunchy Bunch
July: Waterworks Poetry Readings at the DAI, featuring Sheila Packa, Liz Minette, and Kathleen Roberts
July; radio pluto film and live readings at Redstar
September; rock (verb) poetry reading at Redstar, featuring Ryan Vine, Kate Harrison, Daniel O (Goody Night), Katelynn Monson, and Tina Higgins, followed by open mic
September: Spirit Lake Poetry Series kickoff party, featuring readings by Ellie Schoenfeld, Connie Wanek, and Sheila Packa September: Poetry Open Mic at Pineapple Arts with musical guests Teach Me Equals
October: radio pluto/loom at Prøve and Gimaaji, featuring live poetry reading and motion poems from local artists
October; Spirit Lake Poetry Series presents Sierra DeMulder at The Underground
October; Open mic and book swap at Beaners, hosted by Tina Higgins
October; 'Dropping into the Flower' book release, featuring Susan Deborah King
November; Duluth All Souls Night, featuring readers Ellie Schoenfeld, Sheila Packa, and Kathleen Roberts
November: Spirit Lake Poetry Series presents Dobby Gibson at Prove November, Lights Off poetry reading at Redstar, featuring Amy Clark, Crystal Gibbins, Rocky Makes Room For Them, and Kathleen Roberts
November: Sharkhooks at Prøve Gallery, with featured guest Peter Pain
November: 2nd annual Coffee and Cigarettes, featuring various local artists, poets, and musicians, at 2104
December: poetry open mic and book swap at Beaners

1 comment:

My Inner Chick said...

Excellent Review.

Love Sheila Packa!!