Friday, October 14, 2005
Kyle Conner’s noontime reading today at Joe Coffee Bar seemed like an odd and interesting idea. It turned out to be a great idea. The night PACE (Poet Activist Community Extension) was founded last winter in McGlinchey’s Bar, Linh Dinh & I agreed that a key mission component is to deliver poems to Philadelphians who aren’t tapped into the close-knit literary community. Conner’s reading was an incredibly effective example of how public poetry can engage the city in a different way.
Conner read his poems to about 50 hospital workers. The venue is a popular lunch spot for Jefferson employees, selling fair-trade coffee and sandwiches on the ground floor of a Jefferson Hospital building. The crowd ate their lunch in their scrubs or suits, fueling the afternoon break with something more than a chicken club & espresso. Kyle’s poems were received with a strange, exuberant energy- different than I sense in typical poetry venues.
There are two flashes
a shedding light
exactly the same
His new chapbook Toward Belief is a break from earlier work, an investigation of universal poemscapes. Conner’s contemplative new work has the sparse spirituality of Frank Samperi, with a commitment to short form & no extra dressing- a shift toward humor and economy that conjures the best of Cid Corman.
To order the chapbook (& you should), email the above address.
Here’s to Kyle for taking his poems beyond the litscene & into the world!
- Frank Sherlock