As a writer I admit, I’m wedded to fiction. And although I try to keep an open mind about other forms of wordplay, it’s been years since a post about what is probably the oldest form of word art – poetry -- appeared in these pages. So last Saturday, I went to The Crown and Harp, 1914 Greenville Avenue in Dallas, for a free reading from Pandora’s Box Poetry Showcase Dallas. The intimate pub on the lowest end of Greenville was the perfect setting for an evening of readings by seven North Texas poets.
Guest poets Joe Milazzo (The Habiliments) and Logen Cure (Letters to Petrarch) read from their recently-published works. Pandora’s Box regulars Dan Collins, Paul Koniecki, Mark Noble, Gayle Reaves and Christopher Soden, read individually from their own works, then joined with guests Milazzo and Cure for “Breadcrumbs,” a round robin of thematically-linked poems.
Even for non-poets (maybe especially for non-poets), hearing pieces such as Milazzo’s “The Dream in Which We Purchase Catapults in Bulk” (“East of inside, where the coats/ groom their cowlick obsessions/over stoic luggage, that must be/ the land where your grudges /crouch. . .”) opens a mind as much to new ways of thinking.
As does Cure’s take on Italian Renaissance poet Francesco Petrarch, “the person who formed love poetry as we know it today,” writing 366 sonnets to a woman he addressed on as “Laura” (and who may, Cure suggests, have been only a figment of his imagination).
As befits “a queer 21st century woman”, in Cure’s description of herself, her poems are not sonnets. Instead, they consist of meditations and letters as brief as Petrarch’s form, addressed to the poet whose muse “. . . was nothing more than the angle of the L /and the curves of her vowels, /her voice a replication of the way the r/reechoed in your dreams.”
The schedule and venue for Pandora’s Box Poetry Showcase has varied, but the group hopes to start appearing regularly from 7-9 p.m. on the third Saturday of the month at The Crown and Harp (next reading: May 21). Check Pandora’s Facebook page for details.
Want more poetry? Try the Dallas Poets Community, where Cure and Pandora’s members discovered each other, with free open mic readings at 7 p.m. the first Friday of each month at Half Price Books Flagship store, 5803 E. Northwest Highway in Dallas.
For help in exploring the Dallas poetry community, Dallas Poets offers free workshops on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, also at Half Price Books. The next workshop is scheduled for tomorrow, April 13.
More free or almost free help for area poets comes from The Writer’s Garret in East Dallas whose peer workshops meet in Lucky Dog Books, 10801 Garland Road in Dallas. The Garret is home ground for several Pandora’s Box members. Mixed prose and poetry workshops meet on first and third Tuesdays from 7-9 p.m. and second and fourth Saturdays from 10 a.m. – noon. First visits are free, with a $3 charge for subsequent visits.
Later this month, Half Price Books hosts poet/actress Amber Tamblyn (Joan of Arcadia, etc.) at 6 p.m. April 23 for a discussion of her latest book, Dark Sparkler. See the Half Price site for details.