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Paris Lit Up Open Mic featuring Joe Ross

Paris Lit Up Open Mic featuring Joe Ross

Review by Kate Noakes with photographs courtesy of  Ariela Assin.

Belleville Park Pages unfolded itself this week and at two euros, it’s a bargain of fine writing anyone can share. Reading from the first edition were Evan, and Max, but only after he’d made us laugh and cry in swift succession with some quick-fire comedy. The Pages’ editors extraordinaire are Will and James, who’s storm was ‘the lion that broke the sky’s back.’ The other James, wasn’t planning on reading, but he plucked waxed fruit from his bag and edited his poem in real time. Alex told us of a cheque writing hermit with hash tags, while Bill dreamed of violins.

And then it started to get a bit fruity, with Fran picking blackberries, Jason needing to rethink his English translation of his own Spanish poem ‘I want to love you like a passion flower climbing a wooden trunk’ (see what I mean), and Emily naked and sexy and stripping. I don’t know what was going on in my co-hosts’ heads and I don’t want to! Rufo brought some semblance of order with his rewrite of Whitman’s Song of Myself, ‘Shelf’, well, right up until he ended one section with the word ‘dildo.’ Thank goodness for Moot’s wonderful voice, pity she’s back to Minneapolis next week.

Our super-special guest, Joe Ross, is practised at shouting over the French. He book-ended the first break with his rapid fire words ‘some of my games have no rules’, ranging through several of his twelve books of poetry, which probably qualifies him as Paris’ nearest contemporary equivalent to a Beat poet. Marvellous! Catch him next time around, or better still buy his latest book, Wordlick.

Jose was in soulful mood and ‘fully fledged’, while Sam was busy untying ‘every knot in your body’. Kate got out her vampire knives to slice a few necks.  Megan’s poem was ‘attention’, ‘asking the sun about the big bang.’ Adding to the language haul was Christina, who recited Puskin after describing Russian women travellers in high heels ‘all crazy to get married’. Valentina read a Neruda sonnet (second bit of Spanish of the night) and then came the Italian with Andreas and Aristeo, dueting in poetry.

Music by the inimitable Victor, Tiana, and Kelly.

Rounds: 3, the new normal, Languages: 7 (French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Italian, English, American), Virgins: 6. More viagra-fueled madness next week, when it is apparently off-patent.

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Joe Ross is the author of twelve books of poetry, most recently, Wordlick, Green Integer Press (2011) and Strata, Dusie Press (2008). He has also published Fractured // Connections . . . , bilingual Italian/English, La Camera Verde Press and EQUATIONS = equals, Green Integer Press, 2004.

Former Literary Editor of the arts bi-monthly The Washington Review from 1991-1997, and co-founder of both the In Your Ear reading series in Washington, D.C. and the Beyond the Page reading series in San Diego, CA, he received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Award for his poetry in 1997 and is the three time winner of the Gertrude Stein Poetry Award in 2003, 2005, and 2006. He presently resides in Paris.

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