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Not All Poetry Readings Created Equal

December 01, 1990

It's always gratifying to see media coverage on the live poetry phenomenon, and each story helps inform readers and gives support to the region's poets.

Because poets do get so little attention, however, it's all the more important that the journalist not misrepresent any details.

In Rose Apodaca's recent article ("Readings, Writings and Libations," Nov. 15, OC LIVE!), I suspect she proposed an article about Performance Poetry, then felt obliged to slip pegs of various sizes through a single hole.

Stand Up Poetry, for instance, has never been synonymous with Performance Poetry. Charles Webb took pains to explain this in his introduction to the "Stand Up" anthology and in his conversation with Apodaca.

This bold, insurgent movement, sparked by formally trained poets who broke from the beaten path, is starting to be recognized by many in other parts of the country as one of the most distinctive, unignorable events happening in poetry today.

Therefore, it's important not to cloud and confuse the issue on the home front.

One more small point: The Los Angeles Poetry Festival did not take place because of the popularity of Performance Poetry, but because of the popularity of many kinds of poetry being written in Southern California.

Remember, the simple act of reading a poem aloud before an audience does not necessarily identify one as a Performance poet, or Stand Up poet.



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