Friday, June 8, 2012
Re poetry feature bookings.
Someone who will be anonymous here communicated the following to me over a year ago. It's for the best to share it for the sake of local poets: I would agree that the standards for featuring at the Ugly Mug, and to a lesser extent Redondo Poets, have gone up in the past ten years. But part of this is an expansion of opportunity. Both of them, but particularly the Mug, have developed reputations in SoCal and even beyond, as good readings to feature at. This has increased the status and quality of the poets willing to feature there. If you're a poetry host and you have the chance to book Kim Addonizio or Cecilia Woloch, you're going to take it, even it means not giving a feature to some promising but undeveloped local. Still, both readings do give opportunities to their regulars (again, Redondo more than the Mug). Still, I feel there are plenty of other readings where the beginning poet has plenty of chance to become a feature. And, as a counterweight, I would point out that it is much easier to get a feature at Beyond Baroque, one of the premier venues in the area, that it was ten or fifteen years ago. A second question is whether it is a totally bad thing for a reading to raise its standards. I believe there is value in exposing your audience to more talented poets. And let me, at this point, flat out dispute your assertion that we favor "star value" over talent. Maybe that is true for some other members of our community, but not for me, and not for (other poets, names withheld). Of course, the distinction is made difficult by the fact that many of those with "star power" have earned it with their talent.