Buh-bye January, Paris Lit Up banishes you, your rain and post New Year scent of failure. We slammed the door on Janus, PLU Open Mic style.
Charlie put the rhyme into PLU party time, Nick marveled at a Coy Mistress rapidly approaching her sell-by date, and Amruta burnt the previous year, not forgetting the lover who didn’t count. Rose is going au naturel, so bye-bye blowouts and that creamy crack. VIRGIN Claire held the pièce silencieuse with J’ai retrouvé, Ciat played your host’s favourite instrument (<3 “with a name like the shape of the moon”, Red submarine. Japanese Man. Scuba. Dead wives) and Roya wasn’t sure she liked being a woman… Thomas read the Prologue to Pushkin’s Bronze Horseman, and Dúnlaith, whose name has been researched and apparently means Princess of the Fort (the accent on the U is called a fada) explored the stages of grief like the stages of the cross. Then we invited VIP Featured ReaderCecilia Llompart onto the stage, whose poetry whirled over love, nature, the self and place with the finesse of a dancer.
(Round two was hosted by René, who received an encouraging 6.3/10 from the audience)
Round 2 started off with Ryan and René having a one-on-one debate leading up to the Putingrad mayoral election (there was no clear winner, but they did manage to make it uncomfortable for all watching). Shannon described an encounter in her home with a massage therapist who she happened to find attached to the d**k she’d invited in, with an epilogue about adjusting the temperature on a water heater. Cecilia delved into her bag of activist poems to evoke images of adventurous girls running outside, then an expanded version of a recently-read protest poem flitting from America to bitter honey to stranded information. Maysan vaunted the tenderness of her family and the mediation of Turkish coffee, and tap danced around fate. Ciat, his hands a blur on the strings of his ukulele, sang beautifully about insomniac mothers on lake edges. Fred provided stand-up analysis and weighed in on people at funerals posting Facebook selfies alongside their deceased mothers (duck face: appropriate or nay?), the real-life meaning of people who refuse Facebook invitations by default, and notes from his personal reading of Leviticus as regards gay sex. Lara read a Glyn Maxwell one-minute poem (note: host forgot to time it and can’t verify the duration) about figuring people out with help from charts, mourning them in miniskirts and dating them in black. Rebecca regaled the audience reading from cards she’d received and never replied to, from Gaysie (awaiting hip replacement) and also from her sympathetic grandmother who never admitted she knew what her last name meant in Polish. Yann hopped from space, searching for extraterrestrial intelligence, to hormones and Ikea-level threat levels, to mind control in twin towers, Manchurian candidates and Kennedy’s retirement.
Paris Lit Up is excited to close out January 2016 with a powerful transnational voice, Cecilia Llompart. Open Mic sign up starts at 20h and all forms of expression – words, song, dance, comedy, haircuts – are welcome.
Cecilia Llompart was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Florida. She received her BA from Florida State University, and her MFA from the University of Virginia. Her first collection, The Wingless, was published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in the spring of 2014. She is the recipient of two awards from the Academy of American Poets, and her work has been included or is forthcoming in numerous anthologies and journals, including Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, The Caribbean Writer,and WomenArts Quarterly Review. Most recently, she has served as guest editor for an issue of Matter: A Journal of Political Poetry and Commentary themed around the subject of displacement and displaced peoples, presented the topic “Always a Stranger: The Poetry of Those Speaking From the Margins” at WriterHouse, taught poetry workshops as well as the course, “The Emotional Politics of Wes Anderson” at the University of Virginia, mentored high school students for the Tupelo Press Teen Writing Center, stepped up as chair of creative writing for The Blue Ridge Summer Institute for Young Artists, interned with the Paris Poetry Workshop, and founded New Wanderers, a nomadic poetry collective that sponsors poets on long term traveling projects. She currently divides her time between Puerto Rico, Paris, and elsewhere, often traveling with a cardboard sign that reads “poet please help” in order to raise awareness about the challenges of making ends meet as an artist.