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PLU Open Mic featuring John High

PLU Open Mic featuring John High

Themes from PLU June 12 2014: Familiar faces, Netflix, Tinder, Australians, Romance. 


PLU got all nostalgic as some unexpected PLUers from the past came back to haunt surprise us, as well as a good dose of new blood!


Gus, who we thought had left to join his fellow Swēoþēod, dropped in before his first Tinder date to play us some forgotten chords  in c-flat, followed by Bob who took us into an alternative world. Zorro YES ZORRO might have been a new face, but was effortlessly professional as Emily forced him into an unplanned sketch with his beautiful assistant Elliot. Another newbie, Lloyd, calmed us all down with some foot-tappin’ tunes, and then Thomas stirred up rebellion with the sacred and profane.

Time for some golden oldies: Elliot was back for more, solo this time, with Emily Dickinson’s I felt a Funeral, in my Brain (n°280) by rote of course, and beautiful Bea brought some Beckett & D. H. Lawrence. Missy and Jelle wooed us on stage with their wedding vows (CONGRATULATIONS!) bravely followed by James who broke the Culture Rapide 5th wall, and took Shakespeare to the moon. Nick was late to the party, but more than made up for his tardiness with John Fuller’s Valentine. John High, novelst, poet, editor, translator and professor (and our featured performer!) finished up the first round with a selection of his work:


Burnt leaves by the library

we were walking the dog and talking in the script

Who gave you this narration?

Where are your people from?

Round two!

Keris stopped shaking with the reappearance of a butterfly, and Richard, another familiar friendly face from back in the day,  came up onstage to strum for the first time. Olivia gave us coke, nudity and a cat, and James made comedy out of killing himself. Elliot chose the road to Liberty with Auden, and Bob was all about seasonal references. Missy sang the Jelle-prequel awwwwwww and Donald closed the proceedings with a translation of Tristan Corbière…

He found himself lost wherever he went

such a brain but no head

A faultless blemish

My only nation is Exile


John High is the author of numerous books, including The Lives of Thomas, The Sasha Poems, Bloodline—Selected Writings, and the novel, The Desire Notebooks (selected by the Village Voice Literary Supplement as one of the top 25 books of its year). His most recent collection of poetry, you are everything you are not, is the third part of a trilogy—a book of unknowing and here (Talisman House). His work has appeared recently in Ugly Duckling Presse (6×6), The Brooklyn Rail, New American Writing, Poems by Sunday and Conjunctions, among many other places. A recipient of four Fulbright Fellowships, two NEAs, grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation, Arts International, and the Academy of American Poets, he is an honorary member of the Moscow Club Poetry. He was a founding editor of Five Fingers Review and the translator of several books of contemporary Russian poetry and the chief editor for Crossing Centuries—The New Russian Poetry. His translations of Osip Mandelstam have appeared in The Nation, Fulcrum, Denver Quarterly, Pen America, and Poetry. He teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at LIU Brooklyn.


See you all from 8 pm onwards, every Thursday, at Culture Rapide in Belleville, Paris!

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