Poetry News

Help the East Bay Poetry Summit Bring Poets to the Memorial Day Backyard

By Harriet Staff


Poets in the Bay Area--fade-in to the East Bay--are working internets and butts off to help "poets from around the US to converge on Oakland to give readings, lead conversations, mix cocktails, and teach and learn from each other" for a very special East Bay Poetry Summit. And you are invited! As Dodie Bellamy puts it:

"With the plummeting of arts funding and the general disappearance of public space, salon-style events ("house readings") are taken very seriously in the Bay Area; performing at one can garner more kudos than at a public venue. House readings frequently take place on the weekend and are just as devoted to partying as to poetizing. When the reading begins the party slams to a halt and attention is rapt.

The atmosphere may be casual—those not lucky enough to snag a seat on a couch are crammed together on the floor, some are sprawled across a mattress that somebody—who knows who—actually sleeps on, but this audience knows poetry, and they listen with razorlike precision. At such readings, whether I'm performer or audience, I feel like a beat in a larger matrix of communal creativity."

So far, as you can see at their Facebook event page, the summiteers have already confirmed brilliant attendees like Anne Boyer, Anna Vitale, Bhanu Kapil, David Wolach, Dolores Dorantes, Jen Hofer, Douglas Rothschild, Frank Montesonti, Sophie Sills, Matt Longabucco, and Uyen Hua, with more to come! More details for this lovely May weekend (that's May 24-27, 2013, for those of you watching at home):

The summit will start on Friday night with a house reading and party. Saturday readings and talks in the daytime, breaks for big group dinner, and a reading and party in the evening. Sunday ditto. Monday, a daytime barbecue and house reading to decompress and recover from the mayhem.

But where do you come in?

For our poets coming from out of town, we are asking that the community can pitch in and help with the cost of their travel. All the readings and events will be absolutely FREE! so any help you can provide would be critical to help these poets with the burden of travel costs.

Donate to this fine enterprise at the East Bay Poetry Summit's Indiegogo Page. They have 60 days left as of this writing to raise $3,000. Having been to our share of meetings, readings, reading groups, language lessons, Public Schools, friendly dinners, learned coffees, and crushing nights (oh, adjectives! what would we do w/o) with many of the poets behind this curtain, we'd say it's well worth your 2-D green.

Originally Published: February 28th, 2013