Monday, April 04, 2005

L'Oreille de Van Gogh

My reading at Oreille van Gogh Cafe today was highly enjoyable -- there were about twenty people in attendance, including my partner & a few friends. In my set I chose a combination of dramatic & witty pieces that went over well in that distracting and noisy atmosphere (you know, expresso machines etc.), read some originals & translations of Santos (my Spanish went over extremely well with the serving staff, who were all lovely and Mexican), and ended with two poems by Robert Creeley -- to be found here and here, thanks to Peter Pereira and AD Thomas respectively, who posted them as RIP's. Sold a book to a friend. The cafe is a truly lovely place, a bohemianesque corner-store-turned restaurant with framed stained glass hanging in the windows and lots of art on the walls. Will go back...

The other featured reader -- previous to me -- was a 12 (13?)-year-old boy (I only remember his last name being Jacobs -- maybe someday he'll famous), a prodigy of sorts, who had actually published two chapbooks of quite passable haikus. His performance was remarkably self-assured, well-orchestrated and within the time limit. He deserved his warm applause.

The open set was more or less typical. One very striking sound-poetry-ish performance, a lot of well-meant but hackneyed phrases and triteness.

What to do with triteness? (It's gotta be the worst -- that's why so many better poets take quick leave...)

Maybe transcribe the phrases and turn them into a poem. A poem consisting entirely of cliches that nevertheless manages to be refreshing. (There's a challenge.) Or tap, really tap, with all the sympathy you can muster, into the underlying impulse -- there's nearly always some worthwhile impulse down there trying to get out -- and make a poem that fulfills that impulse.

It's the creative thob of all those unfulfilled, underlying impulses that makes listening to an open mike an affirmative experience. (Not to mention, of course, the rare striking performance...)


In my previous post about the Francisco Santos publication, first two of my three links on Norberto Salinas now don't work, although they did when I put them up. Maybe they will again. Intriguing.


A. D. said...


I'm glad you enjoyed the Creeley that I posted. "The Door" is actually my favorite RC poem, but I had posted about the poem previously. In an indirect way I'm honored that you used my pick during your reading.

At Charles Jensen's blog you mentioned that you wished you knew how to upload photos. I'd suggest Picasa2. It's free and will upload straight to your blog. Otherwise, I'd be happy to show you how to do it using html.

Brian Campbell said...

Thanks for the advice and helpful offer of support, A.D.. I've already uploaded Picasa -- about two months ago, in fact. I'm waiting for when the mood strikes me to figure it out. This may take until the next lifetime. (I haven't commented until now because every time I've tried, blogger has been slow and sticky...)