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Poetry Readings

No Shoes Required for this Kind of Poetry Reading

Perhaps it’s surprising that poetry, as an art form, has embraced technology so much. I suppose because poetry has never exactly been a commercially viable life-choice, poets have had nothing to lose by embracing the internet. Or perhaps it’s because poetry has always existed as an adaptable, and radical, art form. Either way, poetry book sales have not been hit by the digital revolution in the same ways that fiction and nonfiction have.

Online journals, workshops, and literary relationships existing entirely online have reinvigorated poetry and hardened it against accusations of it being a dying art. Part of this effect, I’m sure, is the immediacy that the internet can provide. An immediacy which HTMLGIANT is using to its fullest with their series of ‘Live Giants’ online poetry readings. Can’t get to New York or Chicago to experience Mary Ruefle and Matthea Harvey read? Just tune in online, instead. To be honest, the virtual ‘crowd’ that gathers for these readings is larger than most poetry readings I’ve ever been to. Not only does it allows the wonderful poems to be heard by people who are geographically inaccessible, but it provides yet another online platform for poetry folk to come together. Who doesn’t enjoy a love-in? Ok, so the animal masks are a little scary, but it all adds to the experience. HTMLGIANT are up to number 8, and previous readings have included Mairéad Byrne, Zachary Schomburg and Sam Lipsyte

Best of all, HTMLGIANT’s archives mean you can replay the readings over and over and over until your heart’s content. It’s always frustrating when you grow to love a poet’s work after you’ve seen them live and can’t quite recall the poems in the same way. Well now you can, whenever you like. Doing laundry, cleaning, jumping up and down… the possibilities are endless.

Who wouldn’t want poets in animal masks reading you to sleep?


Flowers for the Poets

You probably know that a poetry book tour took me to me to a number of places around the country. I appreciated every moment of travel and all the people I met along the way.

Now that I’m back home for a bit, I wondered what a poetry reading would look like on Twitter. How does one give a poetry reading on Twitter? What do we poets do there?

Susan Rich, Kelli Agodon, January O’Neill, D.A. Powell, Collin Kelley, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil agreed to join me (Deborah Ager) in a poetry reading/party online in front of all who care to join. On the basis of their agreement to join me, I can attest to their adventurous natures.

The Twitter Poet Party may be nothing like a reading. You will not be at a college in a comfortable seat or in a bar with a beer. You will not get extra credit for attending. You might be at home in a comfortable seat with a beer. That could be good, right? You don’t have to wear shoes. You don’t have to talk to anyone. To communicate, you will have to type. If you have a sexy voice, it will do you no good. You can lurk and people won’t think you’re weird, because no one has to know you’re lurking. Are you seeing the possibilities?

Please join Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Kelli Agodon, January O’Neill, D.A. Powell, Deborah Ager, Collin Kelley, and Susan Rich for this Twitter Poet Party. Follow the #poetparty hashtag. Ask questions. “Listen” to poems. Sunday, October 24 @ 9 pm ET. As you may know, a hashtag looks like this #poetparty and helps people focus on certain conversations on the constantly moving stream that is Twitter.

Oh! The flowers in the photo? They are for the poets, and they’ll never dry out.


32 Poems on the Poetry Road

August 31, 2010

I’d love to see you/meet you at one of my upcoming poetry readings, panels, or classes. Although August has not ended and we’re still having 90-degree days, it’s felt like September for several weeks in terms of work load. Recently, I finished a poetry interview for the Sotto Voce Poetry Festival. Next up, I’ll be […]


The Joaquin Miller Cabin Summer Poetry Series is taking applications now through March 31, 2010 (postmark) for the Summer Poetry reading series in June and July of 2010. The Series is located in a lovely outdoor park setting in the Washington, D.C., with two readers selected (one local and one from another part of the […]


Three Readings

July 9, 2008

I’ve got my first three readings for the book tour ironed out. Yay! Note to all poets with a forthcoming book: Plan your tour 1.5 to 2 years in advance if you can. I thought 15 months was enough advance notice. Several programs already have their reading series in place for spring and fall 2009. […]