So we’re trying this new thing at my library. We’re starting a monthly poetry night for the fall and spring, and are pretty excited about the opportunities and challenges this presents. Main opportunity? Poetry is awesome. And main challenge? Poetry’s got a little bit of a dusty reputation. We’re hoping to do something about that.
And so taking to the ever-amazing Internets to get some ideas, I typed “awesome poetry events” into my google search bar, and discovered this beautiful little poetry tumblr that I’m now obsessed with: Manic Mouth Congress. Manic Mouth Congress! I want to be everything that is the Manic Mouth Congress. In reading more about the Mouths, I learned that they do things like a Night of Erotic Poetry. Yowza! And an Encyclopedia Show, “where a word from the encyclopedia is chosen and students submit a piece (poetry, art, multi-media, etc.) that is an interpretation or reflection of this theme.” Shelby Handler, the mind behind the mouths, has said that they “want to approach it in a relatable way. […] Poetry has something to do with your life; you just don’t know it yet.” I feel like she and I would be friends.
I also sent a little note to my longtime friend and currently rockstar poet, V, and, despite being sweaty from a day of helping her friends move, she wrote back right away to suggest using themes — “Poems about Food or Sex or Queer Poets or native Kansans or something like that, something to draw it all together.” She says it helps everyone feel a little more comfortable, if they have some idea about what they’re getting into before they walk through the door.
So, obviously, we need an amazing name for our Library Nights of Poetry. Will it be a Collective? A Congress? A Mixer (are Mixers sexy)? We’ve still got a lot of work to do. But something tells me it might just be pretty great.