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Poetry Whips Its Hair Back And Forth

By Harriet Staff


Yup! As the Wall Street Journal writes:

Poetry, an art form often treated as whipping boy in the cultural landscape, is on an unexpected uptick in New York.

As the Nuyorican Poets Cafe celebrates its 40th anniversary, it has announced $5.3 million in municipal grants that will allow it to renovate its three upper floors. The Bowery Poetry Club has returned from a yearlong hiatus, holding readings and other events on Sundays and Mondays at Duane Park, a dinner theater and burlesque parlor at the same address. And McNally Jackson, the highbrow bookstore, on Sept. 17 debuts a five-part reading series with the Poetry Society of America.

“In 40 years I’ve never seen it so vibrant here,” said Alice Quinn, the society’s executive director and a former poetry editor at the New Yorker. “I half-expect a poetry cafe to pop up any day now in Hudson Heights.”

At a recent open-mic night at Nuyorican, the crowd began the night by turning from side to side and telling compatriots “I love you, man,” before hugging themselves and chanting in unison “I am fearless!” Performers quickly restored the venue’s Alphabet City grit, with works full of the N-word, S-word and four different C-words.

First on stage, Kevin Davis, a 40-year-old waiter from Bushwick, waited outside for 6½ hours ahead of the 9 p.m. event. He was followed by Travis Cooper Schuon, a 16-year-old high-school senior from Northport, N.Y., whose poem included the line “I be ready to see the world in its complexity, entirely a mystery to be solved by me.” (His stage name, Troms, stands for Transcendent Rampaging Omnipresent Microphone Smasher.)

To learn more about the city’s poets and the stages where they stand front center, visit the Wall Street Journal.

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Posted in Poetry News on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 by Harriet Staff.