Almost a year ago we started a linked poem project with five poets — Susan Alexander, Bruce Beasley, Jennifer Bullis, Dayna Patterson, and myself (Luther Allen). Several years ago we did a similar SpeakEasy with a different set of poets that seemed quite successful. The difference this time is that we would have a theme — spirituality. The other difference was the advent of COVID early in the project. This meant we would not have the usual type of SpeakEasy event to present the poems, plus it injected an unanticipated and penetrating theme. We weren’t sure how the logistics would work out, but all of us became highly invested with the process, eagerly awaiting the previous poet’s work to link with a new poem. After 9 months or so we completed the fifth round, with over 60 pages of manuscript.
Well, that’s a bit long for a single reading! We have decided to make each round of five poems a separate Zoom event, leaving time for commentary by the poets and questions from the listeners. We will have five rounds, each round roughly a month apart. The first round will be Saturday, November 14, 2020, at 7:00pm Pacific and the second round will be Saturday, December 12 at 7:00pm.
There will be a limit of 100 participants, first come, first serve. There is no pre-registration, but a password will be required to enter the meeting. The reading will be videotaped and will be available for viewing on the SpeakEasy page after the event.
The poets’ bios are posted here.
I won’t attempt to characterize the poems, other than to say the poets were selected not on the basis of any answers or dogma they might have, rather on the quality of questions they struggle with. Seems like a timely project.