Sure, the room was packed because Daphne Gottlieb was there to read from her new book 15 Ways to Stay Alive. Yes, it’s nothing new that a strong feature brings people in the door. We all want to avoid it. Some of us do. And shows with integrity will bring people in and they will keep coming, even when, silently, the veil is lifted and there aren’t any more features, or the features aren’t people we’ve heard of, or we just know that this is the dope place to read your poems.
Poetry Mission (aptly subtitled the new shit show) features only new poems. The atmosphere was high charged. The people who were there were there to show off what they’d been working on. They’d been working on it to read at the new shit show. “Almost every poem has been good. That’s weird,” said co-host Andrew Paul Nelson. Let me tell you all about it. I’ve never been to an open mic that generated such excitement… and quality. The way they add music to the show, the variety of introductions they give (you can sign up to be introduced by either of the three hosts, Sam Sax and Nic Alea being the other two), the fact you know the people who really want to read will be there at 7 sharp because otherwise a slot is not guaranteed…
I’ve only heard stories about Paradise Lounge and Cafe Babar, and it would be foolish to compare this series to either one of those legendary scenes… but what’s important to any scene is the foundation around which those with a little heart can gather and begin to depend on. Sometimes, call it what you will, but that’s all it takes…
Check out these poems. Something tells me you’ll be seeing a lot of these poets again and again. I bet you can see most of them at the bi-monthly (that means twice a month, fools) Poetry Mission at Viracocha. If you want serious poetry, check it out.
Jared Beau Hannum
J. Brandon Loberg
Andrew Paul Nelson