Poetry Festival Preview: Fireside Follies

Fireside Follies

Day: Saturday

Stage: Chumley’s

Time: 1:30 PM

Interview with co-curator Mike Lala.

1. Tell us a little bit about your organization.

Fireside Follies started in in 2010. I had joined an informal workshop with a few people, one of them fiction writer Eric Nelson, and through this group and with each other, we spent nearly every weekend of winter, spring, and summer 2010 doing readings in various bookstores, bars, etc. in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Philly, and Baltimore – many of them we set up ourselves. We met a lot of great people who put readings on in these other cities, and then we did the same in Brooklyn, usually in Bushwick, which is where we both lived at the time.

After a while, we decided to do a regular thing, and stumbled across the gallery space at BFP by a stroke of bad luck gone good. We made it a goal to have virtually unknown writers and well-published poets and authors read alongside each other, and to include fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and the occasional visual/video artist or musician. It’s still our goal to bring up-and-coming poets and writers and more established ones together, to this neighborhood, and we do our best to keep things as varied and informal as possible.

2. Who is reading in your slot at the Festival and why?

Andrew Durbin
Ryan Doyle May
Christie Ann Reynolds
Matthew Zingg

All of these folks are great poets and wonderful readers, and they’ve all got completely different voices and angles of approach in their work. I think they’ll complement each other quite well.

3. Who else are you looking forward to seeing at the Festival?

I honestly have no idea which stages I’ll be at and which people I’ll see read. That’s one of the great things about the festival – just floating around between readings, catching half a set and then drifting into someone else’s poem.

4. Did you attend the festival last year? If so, what was your favorite thing about it?

Yes! Fireside hosted Allyson Paty, Alex Dimitrov, Alina Gregorian, and Paul Legault. See above for favorite things (besides a lovely ferry ride and good ol’ champagne in the sun).

5. Why is live poetry important?

Sometimes it’s nice to see the face behind the voice on the page, or conversely, to discover a new writer whose work you’ve never read, but are now hearing out loud. Going to the festival, you really see how big the poetry community is in New York – no other (American) city can compare, I think.