Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Re the annual Newer Poets reading--a modest proposal.

Full disclosure up front: for a handful of years, I volunteered time and money to make possible the printing and delivery of postcards for the Los Angeles Poetry Festival's Newer Poets reading--organized by Suzanne Lummis.  And I was glad to be of help to Suzanne, so whatever comments I make below aren't meant as ingratitude.

I recently noticed this description of the Newer Poets reading held last night at the Los Angeles Public Library's Downtown location:
"The seventeenth annual newer poets program is guest-curated by three acclaimed poets: Eloise Klein Healy, Arktoi Press; Suzanne Lummis, Los Angeles Poetry Festival; and Gail Wronsky, professor, Loyola Marymount University and member, Glass Table Collective."

You'll notice that Beyond Baroque--which was a guest-curator in past years--is missing from the above statement.  This oversight surprised me; perhaps the honored Venice poetry/arts institution will again be invited to nominate poets in 2013.

But perhaps it's time for me to offer unsolicited (and likely to be unheeded) advice about the Newer Poets reading as it proceeds through the 2010s.  It should be split in two--first with a totally Newer Poets reading honoring those literary-ambitious bards who have, say, less than ten years of existence in what is known as "the poetry community"; then, an Honored Poets reading saluting talented veterans who haven't always received the spotlight so generously (and often frequently) aimed at a handful of others in the LA/OC areas.  And one of the two readings could be held at a venue other than the LAPL deemed prestigious enough by the Los Angeles Poetry Festival organizers. 

Sometimes, poets who have spent up to decades in the trenches of writing/submitting/reading/MFAing may feel a bit spiritually diminished by being suddenly labeled "Newer Poets" akin to musicians/actors suddenly being called "overnight successes" by the mainstream media.  Ergo, the division into two categories.

Feel free to use the comments section to agree/disagree with what I wrote above.

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