Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Stafford Reading

The tribute reading for William Stafford was a triumph, with around 15 people reading his word aloud, and Jim Bertolino, gracious host, playing several tracks of Stafford reading aloud. Around 50 people in attendance. According to Jim, these tribute events have been going on since Stafford's death in 1993, and this month there will be over 40 of them worldwide. Very cool. I couldn't help but notice however, the age of the crowd -- most over 40. And stopping by a "spoken word" event later, where the average age was around 20. Poetry has been re-marketed for the younger folks as "slam" or "spoken word." It's embarrassing to say that what Henry Rollins claimed some years ago might be true, that poetry is an old fashioned notion that has lost its punch, and slam and spoken word offer a recontextualized approach to, what to my mind, is the same thing.

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