Matt O’Donnell and crew have compiled the most ambitious listening booth project of contemporary poetry the world has seen. On this fantastic site, you can listen to the inimitable Ilya Kaminsky read (or, really, declaim) his poems to some stunned crowd. You can marvel at a Matejka, bawl at the beauty of a Bauer, and so forth. They also sport an eclectic array of readings–full poetry evenings recorded live. I just listened to Brian Turner reading from Phantom Noise in Denver and was not unimpressed. In short: From the Fishouse is to the Academy of American Poets’ listening booth as a jacked-up mountain lion is to a tabby kitten named Ed. Sure, Ed the kitten is cute, but if you’re serious about your killing, you go with the jacked-up mountain lion. Matt O’Donnell is poetry’s jacked-up mountain lion, and we welcome the carnage.
The website also spawned its own anthology, complete with a CD of recordings. My sense is that From the Fishouse will continue to be the place to come to listen to contemporary poetry, while also returning the act of recitation to its rightful place–at the center of poetry culture.
Isn’t it great to be fishy?
*Throughout Poetry Month 32 Poems will use this space to praise presses, journals, and readings series that bring poetry to us in a special way. Our hope is that we can point new fans in their direction and publicly thank editors and curators for their work. Check in with us again tomorrow for another poet’s recommendation.
Chad Davidson is the author of From the Fire Hills (forthcoming), The Last Predicta (2008), and Consolation Miracle (2003), all on Southern Illinois UP, as well as co-author with Gregory Fraser of Writing Poetry: Creative and Critical Approaches, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). He is an associate professor of literature and creative writing at the University of West Georgia near Atlanta.