PLU Open Mic featuring Rebecca Seiferle
Rebecca Seiferle brought beautiful poetry to a very crowded Culture Rapide on June 2nd, where enough performers answered the open mic call that a third round had to be opened and quickly filled up.
Kamel and Karim opened the evening in round one with a song “Marie” that blended English and French lyrics, about lonely guy/life/street/girl/city/dreams and a new life beginning for Marie Vanille.
Clare read a meta poem “If I had to write a poem read aloud/To a small crowd”, then a second poem about being the best that one can be, about leaving the confinement of closed doors.
Ash sang an original song about a guy who fell from the moon, beating his guitar percussively while strumming the chords, a magical one-man band performance.
Brittany recited a highly rhythmic poem “I’m not soulless/I’m not without love”, lamenting not being able to breathe/see someone’s love.
Mallory sang a cover of the Talking Heads’ “This must be the place” accompanied by René on the guitar. René screwed up, as René will do, ending the song prematurely and probably at the same time his ill-fated musical career.
Jason cited Joachim du Bellay before launching into a poem about evening sizzles and one man’s voyages through space and time, asking “Where was it that his heart first opened?” and evoking travels through space and time, “Under these skies he constantly journeys”. Jamaica was described before being finally named.
Lara questioned a transition expert on the specifics of how he enabled her to feel at home away from her childhood home, but now required more expertise to get used to the idea of leaving the new home for an unknown one.
Scott read an insightful and disturbing essay that explored the reality of school shootings through the realities of high school bullying and current cultural tropes, in which any narrative involving unrequited love necessarily turns to tragedy.
Rebecca Seiferle ended the round beautifully with poems from her award-winning book “Wild Tongue”, which ranged from the Bosnian war to a Louisiana restaurant named “Mother’s”.
Yaël kicked off round two with a piece about the communication between hemispheres of the brain, the fact that it is possible to end this communication through surgery and the plethora of benefits that could potentially stem from becoming two people through this procedure.
Mo quoted his ex-wife who once said to him that his world was too big for her, declared himself ‘happily divorced’ and reading a poem from his recently published book “We Want Everything” about a conspirator picking from an orchard of falling questions and brooding desires, before jumping into an a capella rendition of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons”.
Gene sang a blues song of his own about the “truth that does a sleeping statue wake” inspired by the 2009 crisis and his personal experience of becoming a 21st century tramp.
Fred belatedly celebrated mother’s day with a blistering a cappella version of The Lonely Island’s “Motherlover”, with the voices two young men who verbally agree to sexually satisfy each other’s mothers.
Cecilia read two poems, “omens” about dead birds being king among omens and asking what have we left at the altar of sorrow, then a poem about how one does not speak of the dead, illustrating the mexican proverb “They tried to bury us. They did not know that we were seeds” with poignant imagery, such as a tired man holding his dead wife’s hand.
Conor read a poem about his father and his garden, about being able to hear what the bird was talking about, and also hydrometers being ignored.
Daryl prefaced his poem by explaining how very important Shakira is to Panamanians and spoke of love spanning cultures in his past dating life, Panama and Columbia, “make love to me on this table for two”. He then moved to a poem about children marching toward the US border, fleeing strife in their home countries.
Celia performed her standup routine about poor-mannered babies that shit themselves, and about a child who declared her love for her, evoking troubled memories of being invited into frat-house rooms to look at aquariums.
Round Three saw Mahel ask for whose fading memories was a city built, declaring that walls are a part of us and asking where was the feast for the ones left behind.
Marie sang Jens Lekman’s “Postcard to Nina”, accompanying herself on the electric guitar.
Clara exposed the moral ambiguity of the recent cancellation of legal immunity for Turkish politicians.
Layla read Shakespeare’s plea for compassion toward refugees in Thomas More’s rebuttal to crowds clamoring “Let the strangers be removed”.
Mallory came back for a steaming a cappella version of Phosphorescent’s “Song for Zula”.
Adam read a piece which, by his own admission, fell somewhere between poetry and prose, about Cobbs Hill where Jerry Garcia died, where looming radio towers pretend to be nice to trees.
Miranda closed the round with a poem about the mice infestation in the bar where she works.
June 2: PLU Open Mic continues this week and throughout the summer with poetry, prose, music and refreshing beverages. We also have special guests coming all the way over from the States like Rebecca Seiferle! For everyone else, sign up is free and open to all starting at 20h. You can do anything you want. We’ve not killed anyone yet.
Rebecca Seiferle is the author of four poetry collections, Her most recent poetry collection, Wild Tongue, (Copper Canyon Press, 2007) won the 2008 Grub Street National Poetry Prize. Bitters (Copper Canyon, 2001) won the Western States Book Award and a Pushcart prize; The Music We Dance To(Sheep Meadow Press, 1998) won the Hemley Award from the Poetry Society of America; The Ripped-Out Seam (Sheep Meadow Press, 1993) won the Bogin Memorial Award, The National Writer’s Union Prize, and the Poets & Writers Exchange Award. She was awarded the Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry in 2004. Copper Canyon Press published her translation of Vallejo’s The Black Heralds in 2003, and her translation of Vallejo’s Trilce (Sheep Meadow Press, 1992) was a finalist for the PenWest Translation Award. Her translations are included in The Whole Island: Six Decades of Cuban Poetryand Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry. She has been a Visiting Writer at Vanderbilt University, writer-in-residence at Hamilton College, Jacob Ziskind poet-in-residence at Brandeis University. Seiferle has been a featured reader and workshop presenter at the Summer Literary Seminars in Vilnius, Lithuania, StAnza International Poetry Festival in St. Andrews, Scotland, the Language Fair in Bozen/Bolzano Italy, and Druskininski Fall Poetry Festival in Druskininski, Lithuania. Seiferle is also the Founding Editor of the online international poetry journal www.thedrunkenboat.com, which has appeared online since April 2000.