Having trashed readings in the last post, I want to get into the readings I have enjoyed the most from the audience. They fall into two categories:
1. Those done by the best poets writing
2. Those with a theme, a plot if you will
Among the first I include readings by Charles Simic and Seamus Heaney. I might add Paul Muldoon and Adrienne Rich. These poets are the real deal. To be with them is to breathe rare air. You can exist on it for longer than twenty minutes and, for reasons I cannot explain, I think I could last ninety minutes listening to Simic.
Among the second I include two: Wesley McNair and Baron Wormser. I heard McNair read "My Brother Running" at The Frost Place and although some thought it too long, were bored by it, I was captivated. I have liked McNair for a long time and found the reading fulfilling, poignant. As for Wormser, I heard him read his scathing indictment of the more recent Bush presidency, "Carthage," in a private reading and, although I have heard him read several times, liked this the most because it did have a plot, movement from beginning to end. It held me.
So, there are readings that work. They are rare and you have to attend a lot of readings to find them. It helps to be lucky too. Additionally, despite my dyspeptic attitude, I do attend readings because that way I can support the writers who struggle honestly with this very demanding art. They deserve all I can give them.
So long for now.