Went to this poetry reading last night. Impressions: interested. Studio One, to begin with, is in a slightly sketchy part of Oakland - but the studio itself is new and lovely. It was odd, but at the time I was mostly relieved that I wouldn't be walking into a ramshackle house on a dark street.
The first two people were not bad. Linda Norton (a very shy woman, though lovely when you get to know her, I'm sure) read very quietly. The poetry itself was engaging, but went on too long. Eventually I was just waiting for it to end.
Then there was a presentation of Justin Kohmetscher's videos. Mr. Kohmetscher himself was not present, as he currently lives with his parents in Nebraska. Snapshot of the eight-and-some minute video: a single foot (the left) walks down a sidewalk while a voice calls out "Left, Right, Left, Right..." It was the type of stuff that art majors and film advisers might praise as: "Evocative! Bold! Nuanced!" I kind of felt... bored. Clearly I'm not meant to be in a graduate film studies program.
But Julie Carr! Julie Carr! Julie Carr! She was fantastically amazing. Amazingly fantastic. Her poetry is the poetry that works best when spoken, and damn - she can speak it. Some poets (and writers in general) are not that good at performing their own work. She can, and does. And it's amazing(ly fantastic). She is a performer. But that doesn't even begin to describe how great her poetry is by itself.
In this day and age, it's very difficult to capture rhyme and rhythm and make them work for you, and only for you. Once upon a time, everyone was into the strict pentameters and end-rhymes. Nowadays, if you try it (unless you are Julie Carr), everyone thinks you are stuffy. Or just an awful poet.
Julie Carr is not stuffy. (Or an awful poet.) Julie Carr's grasp of rhyme and rhythm and meter is amazing, and it is even more delicious when you hear it aloud. Julie Carr makes me want to be able to do that. This may turn into my single poetry goal of the semester, which will probably fail horribly. Figure out how to write like Julie Carr.
Julie Carr, marry me. I want to have your poet-children. They would have excellent grasps of the sound of poetry.
PS: If you couldn't tell, this is my strong endorsement for Julie Carr. If you ever have the chance to hear her read, DO IT.