Around the Twin Cities, when poetry readings take place, it is pretty common for an event to have a 1/2 dozen presenters that will each get somewhere between 6-10 minutes each.
One evening I was at such an event at the University Club.
One of the poets, a guy named Tim Nolan started off his set by reading some F Scott Fitzgerald.
Tim is a pretty complex guy.
Like many of Saint Paul's Irish, he has a large frame, and I think I could take him in a fight, but maybe just because I am ten years younger.
I admire a sincere poet that also has the capability of knocking me to the asphalt!
Tim Nolan is a rare breed.
He's one of the few people I have met that could sit comfortably at a table with academic's or thugs.
The Twin Cities is really fortunate to have him.
So anyway, while Nolan was reading the Fitzgerald piece, Finley whispered in my ear.......
"Nolan's a really good poet. One of the first tell tale signs is that he is confident to read somebody elses work during a set where he only gets 8 minutes. That's style,and it shows that he's confident in himself."
After hearing this, I filed that away in a mental shoe box.
During the next year I noticed that Finley enjoys reading, or referencing Twain and Wilde during his moments on stage.
Christopher Title (moderator of the Barbaric Yawp showcase) begins every one of his events with a tribute to Walt Whitman.
James Silas Rogers, a professor over at Saint Thomas University, he has a monthly event over at Trotters Cafe, and theres nothing more that he loves, than to aknowledge the work of poets that meet 2 requirements...they have to be Irish, and dead.
But when I've talked with all of these guys, I've come to discover that this act of "covering" an icons poem, is really no different than a kid who replicates the batting stance of their favorite Major League baseball star.
I also found it interesting that so many of these poets had heroes that didn't overlap with one anothers.
I don't believe that is intentional, because everyone of these guys that I talked to mentioned that they enjoyed the works of these famous writers throughout their entire lifetime.
So who is Klecko's primary influence?
Well mine is split up a bit.
I admire the words of Carl Sandburg.
I dig Ezra Pound's hair.
But secretly I want to grow up the be a Jack Kerouac that can pay his bills.
But Sandburg was the one who did it for me.
We studied him when I was in 7th grade.
Our teacher started the "Poetry Unit" with a short poem of his entitled....FOG.
I don't know why I liked it so much, but I simply did.
Claiming a favorite poet is a lot like claiming a favorite rock star or football player, the problem is....you just can't find many people to argue this topic with because.....LOL, that's right....POETS ARE LAME.
Anyways by reading "Fog" I decided to dig a little deeper.
The next stage in my education happened to be reading his "Chicago Poems".
Wow...these works were so blue collar, how could a guy who wore a suit and had the hair of a newscaster capture all these ideas?
Anyways, I'll leave you with Sandburg's "Fog"......
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches 5
and then moves on.