Last night, there were at least 60 or so empty seats at East Quad’s Residential College Auditorium. For shame.
If you comprised part of the approximately 0.1% of the student population present at the Wave Books Poetry Bus reading, then you’re fine. But for the rest of you, there’s barely any chance for redemption. Barely.
The fact that the RC’s own Ken Mikolowski read some of his most memorable poems (The entirety of his “Homage to Frank O’Hara / Why I am not a New York Poet” is as follows: “Detroit.”) can even be sidestepped – at least you might have a chance to hear him read again. But for the touring poets who were present on that humble stage, reciting through that even-more-humble PA system, that’s where you might have screwed yourself.
Simply put, you missed some damn good poetry.
Joshua Edwards led off the night with an appropriate selection of travel-related poems. As mentioned Tuesday, the Poetry Bus Tour is hitting 50 cities in 50 days. There has to be some good stories to tell. Hell, you can even read some of them on the tour’s blog, www.poetrybus.com.
And whether Lisa Fishman and her organic imagery (ignore the fact that she’s an MSU alum) or Matthew Zapruder and his Frank O’Hara-influenced poems appealed – or, more appropriately, would appeal – to you, the fact remains that this poetry tour is stocked to the brim with fresh talent.
And most of you missed it.
But as I said, there is a chance for redemption. You could check out that website I spoon-fed you and maybe even click on an author’s name and maybe even check one of their books. But sauntering over to the bookstore is easy. You know how good that Bukowski is going to look next to your Maxim and/or bong and/or bone-dry bottle of Popov.
No, what I am suggesting is show a little appreciation for poets and their readings – they’re all around you, especially in Ann Arbor. For you activists, you might want to check out some of these readings – there are many poets out there attempting to make some political sense of this world. For sociologists, you’re missing an integral part or our cultural fabric. And for those of you majoring in English, creative writing, art history or studio art, you don’t need me to voice what your conscience should be yelling in your ear.
There’s something for everyone, and the excuses are few and thin. Self-advancement takes many guises. I pray for my fellow students who will end up 40 years from now completely bereft of any cultural experience, unable to absorb the ever-present fruits of our culture.