Friday, December 02, 2005

Crazy Quilt a success

Tonight was the Crazy Quilt of Bloomington Songs performance, and as far as I'm concerned it was a big success. It was fun to see people outside the usual "poetry crowd" showing up for a poetry-related event, and the singers & pianist were spot-on with their performances. The poems were divided into groups of three or occasionally just two; all the poets in that small grouping would go up "onstage" together, and each stood at the podium to read while the others sat in chairs, then the musicians performed those pieces while the poets stayed up front. After the three (or two) pieces were performed the musicians & poets all took a bow, and the poets returned to the audience while the next group of poets came onstage. It sounds complicated but it worked really well. My poem was paired with one by Roger Pfingston, who's been a fixture on the Bloomington poetry scene as long as I can remember, and I think the two poems worked really well together.

The poets were given corsages (a single rose, with white ribbon for the ladies) at the door, which was a sweet touch. And at the end there were fabulous brownies and cookies, and no end of congratulations all 'round. I think this was one of the most fun poetry experiences I've ever had, for a number of reasons -- the collaborative aspect, the opportunity to hear some nifty new music, the "outreach" to people who might not normally attend a poetry reading (or, similarly, people who might not normally attend a performance of 21st-century "serious music"), and don't forget those fabulous brownies. *grin* Hey, I'll trade a poem for a rose, a brownie, and an evening's entertainment anytime -- that's more than one usually gets for poems!

The performance was videotaped by our local cable-access channel, so hopefully I'll be able to record it when it airs. And Lee Chapman (the composer) is talking about recording this work to CD, which I hope does happen, as I'd love to hear the pieces again. He did a good job, I think, of not overpowering the words with the music; the words didn't seem secondary to the music, nor vice-versa, which in my experience is not always the case with poetry/music collaborations. Another thing I particularly enjoyed about the evening was that the contributing poets spanned a wide range of experience -- some were fairly new poets who hadn't read in public much; some were about like me, published here & there but not well-known or anything; a few better-known poets were included, like Catherine Bowman and A Loudermilk (whose poem, "Kicked Dog," was one of my favorites). All in all, I'm tickled that my "little poem that could" was a part of this thing.

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