Twin Cities: Review of Recent Readings

When it comes to finding and attending various poetry and literary events in the Twin Cities, I can’t recommend enough the monthly calendar over at Rain Taxi Review of Books. It’s sorted by genre, times and, as far as I can tell, is almost totally comprehensive. Take a look at it and see what’s coming up and what’s gone down.

There were many fine readings recently that I had the pleasure of attending. D.A. Powell visited on April 17th and the folks at Graywolf Press organized a reading at the Loft Literary Center in celebration of his newest book, Useless Landscapes or a Guide for Boys. Dobby Gibson introduced Powell to a pretty diverse crowd of readers. If you’d like to relive the experience in your own living room, here’s the set list. If you’d like to try to read it like Powell, himself, read at a calm pace, let your voice find the rhythm and flow, smile when you are tasting a nicely flavored phrase, and close your eyes when you know the next line by heart. Or, you know, you could just listen to the audio here.

1. Landscape with Figures Erased
2. Landscape with Sections of Aqueduct
3. Tender Mercies
4. Chicken
5. Bojangles
6. Funkytown
7. Boonies
8. Ode to Joy
9. Missionary Man
10. Mass for Pentecost
11. Landscape with Combine

Then, 10 days later at the Soap Factory, Rain Taxi Review and Coffee House Press welcomed Amanda Nadelberg into town for a reading celebrating her newest book, Bright Brave Phenomena. It was something of a homecoming for Nadelberg who attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and once interned with Coffee House. She was introduced by poets Sarah Fox and Greg Hewett who read poems in her honor. Chris Fischbach, publisher at Coffee House, read to the crowd of 75+ people the first poem she ever sent him about gaps in memory recalling a party in Italy.

Perhaps the most revealing part of Nadelberg’s reading was a moment between two poems. As she finished the final line of “The Dinosaur Dreams its Colors into View”, she paused and said, “Did you guys hear that Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon renewed their vows in Paris?” and then announced the next poem. Was it funny? Sure, but no one laughed out loud because it felt perfect. Her poems drip into pop culture often and kind of fidget with their own sort of nervous internal logic. The Mariah-line was less non-sequitur and more of a connective tissue linking two poems.

Here’s what her set-list sounded like:

1. Our Vision of the Future
2. You Are a Thieving Joy
3. Powerage [Note from SW: She says read this one like an AC/DC anthem.]
4. Moby Dick Says you Cannot Hide the Soul
5. Here in the Space-Time Continuum
6. The Dinosaur Dreams Its Colors into View
7. Our Situation
8. Like a Tiny, Tiny Bird That Used to Make Us Happy
9. This All Came From a Box, Find a Bright Way Out
10. I Can’t Be Responsible for All That’s Behind Me


—Sam Woodworth, Twin Cities