Sunday, March 29, 2015

On the subject of featured poets who leave readings early.

An interesting discussion is taking place on a Bay Area poet's Facebook feed.  She posed the issue of featured poets/writers who leave a reading early, as well as poets/writers who leave an open mic early.

First, let's hear from a literary poet, well known in California:
been on both ends. features know when the crowd is there because they want their 3 minutes of glory with the mic, not to listen to the feature. i usually stay, and like most open mics, might hear 1-3 really good poems, and a lot of really bad poetry. then i'll watch them exit with their hands in their pockets because they sure have no intention of buying a book or copy of my poetry mag. if i'm lucky, the host might give me 20 bucks for my gas and a trip to McDonald's. it's a glorious life. and the open-mic crowd wants a pieceof the action.

Another commenter:
  I think it'd very bad form to leave before the end of a reading, if you are reading yourself in any manner - unless of course circumstance compels you to leave. In which case, it's very good form to let folks know that you'll need to while you're at the mic. I generally assume that in most cases, when someone gets up to read and then leaves without mentioning that they need to, that they're only there to hear themself. Which in turn makes me disinterested in listening to their work in future, no matter what I might think of it.

Another commenter, who names Famous Names:

In the 1980s I drove some ways to Cal State Dominguez Hills to hear Robert Peters and Billy Collins, plus open mic. Pre-Mapquest, GPS, Google Maps. Found the building on-campus and was delighted by the features. They stayed for a little bit of the open mic but not the whole thing. I was sad they didn't get to hear me but not sorry I'd come. I believe Collins had been flown in for the event, and I'm sure these giants of poetry had plenty to say to each other.

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