Friday, April 6, 2012

Finley VS the Poet Laureate

On the third Tuesday of each month, the University Club in Saint Paul plays host to the top reading series that the Twin Cities has to offer.

The emcee of this event is Capitol Cities own Poet Laureate, the lovely Carol Connolly.

Carol has been connected to the Twin Cities "Power People" for decades, so I guess it might of been easy for her to coast through life.

But that's just not the way she rolls.

During the 60's and 70's Ms Connolly was an anchor in the Twin Cities feminist movement.

Even though she had what? 9 or 10 kids, she was always stirring things up in out city.

Always trying to make things better for all people.

She is the living proof that big things come in small packages.

Even though she is only around 5 feet tall, her convictions have stirred my community's conscious in epic proportions.

Often times when her showcase concludes, we will retire to the bar and run a postmortem of the evenings highlights.

Although Carol is very supportive, at times she can be pleasantly sarcastic.......

"My God, could some of those poets give just a little longer of and intro?" and then she'll roll her eyes before continuing.

"I don't know why they feel like they have to define their work for us. why don't they just read it, and let us figure it out?"

Everybody in the circle laughs when she delivers this line.

What's interesting,I totally get what she's saying, but I've been taught the exact opposite.

Finley states that the most important part of a poem, especially one that will be read to a crowd....well the poem should first be framed by the presenter getting their audience comfortable, and hopefully in a state of mind where they will like the poet and will want to root for them.

In fact, often times when an outgoing or charming poets delivers a decent set, Mike will lean over and whisper....

"Just think how much more the crowd would have liked them if they would have just talked to us instead of delivering verse."

Then we laugh.

The other thing that Finley does, which I find unique is that he tells his audience that at the each of each poem, not only is it OK to applaud, but actually preferred.

That usually will crack up an audience, but you know....there is great wisdom in that statement.

Most poets read through their set of poems, and if they haven't encouraged people to celebrate their work....well, most people sit there in a temporary state of awkwardness.

Its like they want to clap, but they don't know if its allowed.

Kinda like going to somebody elses church, and somebody sings a kick a** hymm, when their done....everybody waits for somebody else to clap first.

People are sheep.

Audiences are sheepish times 10.

This isn't a cut down, its just an observation.

One that describes my actions in a crowd as well.

Anyways, I do think it is interesting how two of the poets that I respect so much have totally different methods concerning introduction.

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