Tonight at the Red and Black Cafe, a "bicoastal reading event" from half-local literary podcast Late Night Library. The show, created by Portlander Paul Martone and New Yorker Erin Hoover, offers a semi-regular discussion of debut fiction and poetry, plus a just-introduced "conversation" series featuring conversations with "with the people who are changing the way we think about books."
I've listened to the show a few times in the last few months, and my biggest critique of the episodes I've heard is that as a listener I often felt as though the discussion wasn't quite for my benefit. The hosts have a tendency to dive straight into the specifics of theme, structure, and word choice; if you're not familiar with the work in question, it can be quite opaque. The show needs more constraints, basically—a stronger moderational hand, a loose outline to structure the discussion. Sure, that might harsh the mell of the discussion a bit, but... literary types do tend to go on. (If it were my podcast, and it is not, I would organize the discussion into discrete chunks, each introduced by a reading from the text that illustrates the theme or style element to be discussed. Anybody want to make that podcast? That sounds fun.) That all being said, I think it's a worthwhile project that's improving as it goes along, and tonight's lineup is great: Representing Portland are poet Emily Kendal Frey and novelist Alexis M. Smith (Glaciers), while Farrah Field and Sarah Falkner are Skyping in from Brooklyn. They'll each read a bit then take questions from either city.
The reading's tonight at 7 pm at the Red and Black, and it's free. I'm curious as to how it'll shake out, particularly the bicoastal/Skyped-in angle—if I wasn't producing an event of my own tonight, I'd be there.