Sunday, February 17, 2008
Last night marked my first trip to Beyond Baroque, the 40 year old literary arts center in Venice Beach. Just about everybody has read there at some point, from Ashbery to Levine to Carver. Last nights reading was in honor of Suzanne Lummis, a long time teacher and organizer in Los Angeles. There were about eight readers who all read one of her poems and then one of their own. The place was packed, standing room only. For the first time in a L.A. I saw a real literary community, and a strong one, way stronger than anything we have in Portland. Most of the readings and workshops that take place there are free. Free. The instructors are successful teachers and poets and they seem to be turning out some good poets. (Most of the readings last night were actually good.)
In Portland you can go take a workshop at The Attic if you want to dish out over $300. And while they do pack them in, I think it's because there are no other options. They never host readings, I never hear of them doing any free events within the community. I think that there's room for something like this in Portland. I think the $$ could be raised either privately or publicly. Give me another head and another set of arms and I might give it go.