At poetry events, words are meant to be heard
If many folks are winding down Sunday night after an eventful weekend, the poets gathered at the Q Cafe in Worcester are just getting started.
On a recent Sunday evening, many relaxed on couches or at tables with friends over coffee and desserts while waiting for the Worcester Poets’ Asylum’s weekly poetry event to begin.
Many sat with laptops, putting finishing touches on poems.
In addition to the regular weekly round of readers, this Sunday’s session featured an extra event: An auction of fine goods to help support the Worcester Slam Team who will compete in the 2008 National Poetry Slam in Madison, Wisc.
The auction was not exactly a page out of Sotheby’s, with items on offer including a blender, some teddy bears, a wall-mount model of the city of Jerusalem, and a trash can decorated with ornate images of poodles.
Standing on a stage with a pictograph road sign of a poet at a microphone in the background, Host Bill MacMillan held the items high in the air and good-naturedly teased the poets for not stepping up the bids – which ran about $5 per item.
In between auction bids were the readers, such as Jeff Siegrist of Shrewsbury, who read a wryly humorous poem about cloning; and Robert Gibbs, who read a darkly powerful poem about a marginalized woman struggling to survive.
David Keali'i, of Worcester, sported a cornucopia on his head, but his poem, “Oracle Acolyte,” was far from silly.
Not that silliness was altogether discouraged. Interspersed with the readings and auctions were Erin Jackson’s “zen moments” of reading various students’ anonymous essay answers, which triggered loud guffaws for their inventive outlandishness.
Because the Worcester Poets’ Asylum is, among other things, a haven from stress, and in mixed in with the serious moments was plenty of mirth.
The Worcester Poets’ Asylum, one of a handful of regular poetry event producers in the central Massachusetts, has provided a space for area poets to share their work in a coffee house style setting, with open mics, features, slams and other events for the past 17 years and is the organizer of the Worcester Slam Team.
The Q has been home to the Worcester Poets’ Asylum since Dec. 30.