Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Local Poetry Scene (or lack thereof)

So I was in Los Angeles this weekend--a place I've never been before--and I thought it would be interesting to see if there were any poetry events happening. After some quick searching I found that during any given week in L.A. there are tons of readings and open mic nights. None of them worked for my timeframe, so I didn't get to check one out, but the abundance of choices left me feeling envious.

You see, I live in the Detroit area and from what I've found, the poetry scene here is not all that vibrant. If there's much of a scene at all, it's terribly under-publicized. Maybe I need to dig deeper. (If there are any Detroit poets out there reading this, let me know where I can go!) Who knows. I guess in a perfect world there would be readings to go to every night of the week. I guess I'm going to have to work on finding out more about local poets and local poetry so that I can get more involved.

On another note, I didn't do much reading while I was out of town. I did ponder doing a post of "Poems of L.A." but I didn't get very far in my research with that one. In the short amount of time I looked, I did come across a poem by Philip Levine, who just happens to be from Detroit. I think it's a poem more about California than Los Angeles, but since I'd never been to either before Friday, I think it'll do. On top of that, it's a great poem, too.
by Philip Levine

The new grass rising in the hills,
the cows loitering in the morning chill,
a dozen or more old browns hidden
in the shadows of the cottonwoods
beside the streambed. I go higher
to where the road gives up and there's
only a faint path strewn with lupine
between the mountain oaks. I don't
ask myself what I'm looking for.
I didn't come for answers
to a place like this, I came to walk
on the earth, still cold, still silent.
Still ungiving, I've said to myself,
although it greets me with last year's
dead thistles and this year's 
hard spines, early blooming
wild onions, the curling remains
of spider's cloth. What did I bring 
to the dance? In my back pocket
a crushed letter from a woman
I've never met bearing bad news
I can do nothing about.

Enjoy the rest of "Gospel" here. Let me know how you like it.

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