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Reflections on SPT’s Poets Theater from David Buuck

By Harriet Staff
David Buuck

David Buuck at SPT’s Poets Theater

In anticipation of the 12th Annual Poet’s Theater festival, hosted by Small Press Traffic on January 18th and 19th at CounterPULSE in San Francisco, David Buuck has written a post on the Counterpulse blog about the history of poets theater in the Bay Area. Buuck notes that Bay Area poets theater has “deep roots in several traditions and scenes” and goes on to describe the more recent history of the past twelve years:

The last twelve years of Poets Theater festivals at Small Press Traffic–produced entirely by volunteers and with no budget–have pushed those innovations and traditions forward, with annual plays by Kevin Killian, along with new plays and archival works by writers and PT veterans such as Leslie Scalapino, Alan Bernheimer, Carla Harryman, Camille Roy, and many others.

At the same time, the last twelve years of PT at SPT has served as a laboratory for new experiments in theater and performance, while extending that particularly Bay Area quality, the community component of the PT festival–the ‘gathering of the tribes’ where local poets are both participants and audience, are performers, volunteers, directors, producers, curators, and BYOBers (sometimes all at once).

While it’s enlightening to read about the history of poets theater at Small Press Traffic, we loved Buuck’s evocations of intimate and memorable moments from the past twelve years of festivals:

I remember Jocelyn Saidenberg’s screams, I remember Arnold Kemp’s play done entirely in the dark save for the performers’ headlamps, I remember the audience throwing their shoes at me, I remember Summi Kaipa crawling over the audience from the back row to the stage, taking off her clothes as she did so, I remember Una Lomax reciting her lines by memory as she asked for money, I remember raffling off parts to a set of Daniil Kharms plays that were then put on for the benefit of two diners sitting on stage, eating the dessert that Brandon Brown had made during intermission, I remember Yedda Morrison’s silent nature theater.

You can read more of Buuck’s reflections on the CounterPULSE blog.

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Posted in Poetry News on Monday, January 14th, 2013 by Harriet Staff.