Stage: The White Horse
Time: 12:20 PM
Interview with series organizers William Brewer and Jay Deshpande.
The Metro Rhythm Reading Series was founded in 2009 by poets in the Columbia MFA program. Our series brings together established, emerging, and student poets in a uniquely communal setting: on the floor of Blue Angel Wines in Williamsburg. At a typical reading, you’ll find members of various New York poetry communities sharing a bottle of wine, catching up, and discovering voices they hadn’t heard before. The readings are convivial and aim to make more connections between students at the various MFA programs around New York. Metro Rhythm has participated in the New York City Poetry Festival and Popsickle, and has co-hosted readings with Ugly Duckling Presse and Argos Books. Past readers include Mark Strand, Timothy Donnelly, Mary Jo Bang, Mark Bibbins, Meghan O’Rourke, Josh Bell, Marjorie Welish, Peter Richards, Anna Moschovakis, and Ken Chen.
2. Who is reading in your slot at the Festival and why?
I’m drawn to the authority in Sam’s voice. Her poems have a great deal of mystery and richness to them, but they present the strange world of their vision almost didactically, sensibly. The magical made matter-of-fact. If I were to find, while sitting quietly in this room, that I was suddenly in the presence of ball lightning, I would be likely to flip my shit. Sam, I sense, would be the first to say “This is ball lightning.” Which is no small thing. And that kind of naming of what’s still alien to us is the most primal, the most necessary poetic act. – Jay
I’m always looking for poems that are dense, erudite, winding, tangential, and musical, which is exactly the kind of work John Fenlon Hogan cooks up. He isn’t afraid to let his poems go on for pages, building complex meditations out of the opposing worlds of financial planning, hagiography, and the American West. What you end up with is the voice of a wholly original sort of gun-slinging, skeptical, Wall Street saint, which is a voice I’m willing to follow to just about anywhere. — Will
3. Who else are you looking forward to seeing at the Festival?
We’re really looking forward to seeing some of our past readers work their magic, such as Mary Jo Bang, Timothy Donnelly, Dorothea Lasky, and Mark Strand, as well as some very exciting newcomers, including Hafizah Geter, Courtney Kampa, Julie Kantor, and Alex Morris. The festival has such an impressive list of readers that I doubt that there’ll be a dull moment all weekend.
4. Did you attend the festival last year? If so, what was your favorite thing about it?
While Metro Rhythm was a part of the festival last year, we had to call on some outside help to run our reading, so we can’t wait to enjoy all that the festival has to offer for the first time.
5. Why is live poetry important?
Poetry is an audible art. It should be heard whenever possible, and there is no better way to experience that than when it is coming straight from the poet’s mouth. It often seems like contemporary poets forget about the importance of musicality in poetry, and that’s one big reason for why readings are valuable. New York is so rich with knock-out reading series, and the more of them you visit, the more you understand how vital they are to sustaining the diverse and vibrant poetry community across the city. It’s always so impressive to see how many people come out to sit back and have someone read them poems, which is exactly the kind of thing I think people are looking for now, more than ever. Live poetry becomes another embodiment of the art form, and from the looks of the festival to come, it’s alive and well.