Poetry in Essex is back! I know, it’s not summer and the Adirondack Art Association is shuttered until the Canada Geese return. But poetry writers and poetry appreciators need not wait until summer for a wholesome doze of local, organic, free-range poetry. Here’s the skinny:
Who: Poets and Poetry Aficionados
What: Poetry Open Mic
Where: Belden Noble Library
When: Wednesday, January 30 at 7:00 pm
Why: Life is good, but poetry makes it better!
For those who’ve logged more hours at the Old Dock, Delevan’s Tavern or the Essex Cafe than the library, the Belden Noble Library is located in Essex, New York, directly across from the Essex Ferry dock (Map and more information here). The address is 2759 Essex Road, Essex, New York, 12936 and the telephone number is (518) 963-8079.
I keep hearing the same thing: “I can’t believe how much is going on in Essex… And in the middle of the winter? Essex is the happeningest it’s been in years!”
Fresh off Hannah Kenah’s play reading at the Whallonsburg Grange and Mary-Nell Bockman’s Protest Music presentation/performance at the Belden Noble library, I too am wondering aloud and gushing superlatives.
If you need further evidence that the Essex renaissance is in full swing, this midwinter Poetry Open Mic may be just the ticket. Bring a poem, an appreciation for poetry and a friend. You won’t be disappointed.
Free-Range Poetry Open Mic
Summer 2012 AAA Gallery Director Steven Krolak and Essex bon vivant Jeff Moredock delivered a consistently inspiring and well attended poetry series last summer. They presided over a monthly community poetry reading that welcomed and entertained all. Laughter and tears in an artsy gallery with Lake Champlain as your backdrop. Sublime. And while we’re not hoping to trump the languid verses of summer, we’re hoping that laughter and tears in a bookish perch above Library Brook just might offer the perfect midwinter counterpoint.
Whether you’re a poet or a poetry fan, you’re invited — free of charge — to join your friends and neighbors for all manner of poems read aloud. Free, inverse and reverse. Poetry pros and poetry amateurs. Prose poetry and poetry repose. Come on out to listen, to enjoy, to applaud and perhaps even to read a poem or two of your own.
If next Wednesday night will be your first Poetry Open Mic in Essex, let me cover a couple of questions I often receive.
Poetry in Essex FAQ
Q: Is it really an open mic?
A: Yes. And no. Next Wednesday’s community poetry reading is wide open to the public. But you’ll find no microphone. The space is intimate. And the acoustics are groovy. No microphone is needed. So, strictly speaking the Poetry Open Mic is not really an “open mic”.
Q: Is it actually a poetry slam?
A: No. While last summer’s poetry events were billed as poetry slams, they were actually just informal, public public readings in which everyone was invited to share their own poetry aloud with a friendly and supportive audience. Poetry slams are competitive. “Simply put, poetry slam is the competitive art of performance poetry. It puts a dual emphasis on writing and performance, encouraging poets to focus on what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. A poetry slam is a competitive event in which poets perform their work and are judged by members of the audience.” (Poetry Slam – General FAQ) Next Wednesday you’ll witness no competition, only encouraging and admiring peers.
Q: Is it child friendly?
A: Although poets are invited to decide for themselves whether or not their material is appropriate for the audience, there are sometimes children in attendance and even reading or reciting their own poems. I attended all of the poetry last summer summer and never once did I witness poetry that was inappropriate for children.
Q: Is there a fee to attend? To read?
A: Although similar events elsewhere often require payment for attendance, it is totally free to attend and/or read at the Poetry Open Mics.
Q: Do I have to be a published poet to read?
A: Certainly not. Most of the poets reading write poetry for fun rather than profit. (Excuse the cheeky aside to all writers who’ve grown rich publishing poetry!)