Last night The Press Club hosted a group reading organized by three of Portland's literary magazines, Pathos, Poor Claudia, and the Portland Review, showcasing a diverse group of local poets. A large, responsive crowd enjoyed breeds of poets from the shy student to the lascivious man poet to the avant garde ranter. Each of the 11 poets had their good points but I thought I'd draw attention to a couple.
Donald Dunbar started by taking a picture of the crowd (and being a little bit of a jerk to us) and then launched into a lively reading, barely pausing between imaginative, insightful, sometimes touching, sometimes filthy pieces. His reading was energetic, well-paced, and engrossing. He has been featured in both Poor Claudia and the Portland Review.
Carrie Seitzinger read very dense, physical poems, her voice sharp and exacting. Favorite line: "...write you love poems that sound like funeral dirges..." I sat thinking her work was on the morbid side, and then she confirmed it for me. She has been published in Poor Claudia.
Matthew Dickman, another Poor Claudia representative, read two very brave poems, the kind that startle you and embarrass you but also endear the reader to you, which is maybe the point of poetry readings. His pieces were at turns whimsical and thoughtful and he read with a forceful cadence, one arm outstretched, emoting with his face on the page.
There were of course other notables. Rodney Koeneke gave an affable reading including a villanelle composed of random snippets from google searches. And PCC professor Alison Apotheker's erotic poetry about punctuation struck a nerve. On the whole it was refreshing to hear such diverse and quality work represented here in our city.