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PLU Open Mic featuring Heather Hartley

PLU Open Mic featuring Heather Hartley

alphabetism (plural alphabetisms)

  1. […]
  2. […]
  3. Excessive reliance upon the alphabet or alphabetic structures.
  4. Discrimination on the basis of the first letter of a name.

Hurtled by the happenstance of having the ready readers already arrive in alphabetical arrangement, last Thursday’s plunge into Parisian poetry with our special guest Heather Heartly (herself an alliteratively aligned) began with B (alas, no A alternatives were abound): Bibi read something stupid in Cockney about a Jazz Singer, Bill bounced in from NJ with some Poesie and Bob banged off Absence of Thought and Ode to Nick with a thumbs-up for applause and French husband-seeking.

…C, D…

Elliott elucidated us with Oden and Frost in English – by memory – and recited Chair, Chant, Corps – by heart – shaming all mono-anglophone poets who don’t memorize their stuff. Evan evidenced he wasn’t just another anglophone asshole and enunciated Borges’ Arte Poetica in Spanish and English.

…F, G, H, I, J…

Kate, keen to kick off her new upcoming book, I Spy and Shanty (corrupt press), read from her secret galley…

…L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S…

Thomas tinkered with Verb, a poem with no verbs.

…U, V, W, X…

Yann yelled about Made Up Statistics and a tricky Japanese rabbit who was really a girl.

Finally, our special guest Heather Hartley read in Italian and poems from her new collection Knock, Knock (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2010): Benefits of Chewing, Artichoke Horoscope, Ode to my Right Tennis Shoe in Bastille, Caffè Ristretto with Amnesia, The Amazing Madam Barba, To My One Love’s Letter and Fuge for the Lost Art of Aching. Then, starting Round 2, continued with: Hey You, Pool Guy!, Vesuvius Envious, Gingeva, Lifting Spoons, This What Where it Was (…”Chronos eats more”… beautiful line) and Russian Food.

Since PLU is an equal opportunity unemployer, Round 2 attempted to counteract the evil effects of alphebetism:

…Z, Y, X…

Wendy wailed The Weakness in Me with her back up band, The YouTubesVanessa, violently neglected by ERK last week, recited The Soft Complaining Fruit by memory with alcohol.

…U, T, S, R, Q, P, O…

Nea, now back from the land of tummy aches, defined womanhood through Eve and In Magdalena Virginity was Lost.


Lauren left it As It Is Almost but The Language of Distance didn’t keep her from Paris. Keith, a.k.a. Cathead Le Quack, an Australian rapper, did some family friendly rap of only interjections without any swearing.

…J, I, H, G, F, E…

Delila begged for some Closure from her friend who refused to come to the stage.


Boomy boomed because he waited 436 years for his lover because they were Lovers in Paris During the War.


HIC SUNT LEONES (i.e. everything goes) included: Yann with 1000 Disaster Movies because he knows “the end of the world starts in Paris”, Kate gave more secret previews to her upcoming book, Evano read The Philosophy of Mending from Belleville Park Pages Issue 11, Bibi went to Underground Locations and Wendy closed with an a cappella Stay With You.

For more alliterative fun-filled accent fanatics, see you next week with our special musical guest Fun King Nero….

Heather Hartley is Paris Editor for Tin House magazine and is the author of Knock Knock (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2010). Her poems, essays and interviews have appeared in or on PBS Newshour, The Guardian, The Rumpus, Post Road and other venues and numerous anthologies, including Food and Booze: A Tin House Literary Feast; and Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House. She lives in Paris, where she curates Shakespeare & Company Bookshop’s weekly reading series, and teaches creative writing and poetry at the American University of Paris.

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