Friday, January 20, 2012

K. Curtis Lyle, Stefene Russell, Nicky Rainey, Chris King read manly poems

The public will have a last chance to see the group show The Shape of a Man at Mad Art when we host a show-closing poetry performance there 7:30 p.m. Monday, January 30 at the gallery, 2727 South 21st St. in Soulard in the old Police station.

The event is free and open to the public. Mad Art will run a cash bar.

The poets for this farewell Shape of a Man reading are K. Curtis Lyle, Stefene Russell, Nicky Rainey and Chris King (that's me), and we will read in the opposite order of that list. I will perform with Josh Weinstein on double bass and through Noah Kirby's sculpture With Solid Stance and Stable Sound.

Each poet has been asked to perform for 15 minutes, so the whole reading should last about an hour, from 7:30 to 8:30. After the reading there will be a book signing and reception in the gallery, with a last chance to see the art show in the company of lead artist, Amy VanDonsel.

The art show and this reading are organized in conjuction with the publication of my chapbook of poetry The Shape of a Man (Intagliata Imprints). All of the poets have been asked to read poems that are in some sense "manly".

In a review of the book by Missouri poet laureate David Clewell, Clewell writes, "Musician/poet/agent provocateur Chris King discovers some acutely painful sharp angles that contribute to The Shape of a Man. These are poems full of beer, bad guys, car rides, near-talismanic ears of corn, and a laundromat where the speaker’s determined to see his dirty laundry through, all the way to dry.”

In her review, Stefene Russell writes, "Though his poems are not the average lyrical domestic still life, that’s not to say they float in some ionosphere, or don’t sound like they were written on Earth. On the contrary, they are earthy, randy, often hilarious, disarming in their lack of sentimentality."

Yesterday at lunch, K. Curtis Lyle told me, "These new poems, they are not as scattered. They are much more incisive. I don't know if it's the influence of Leyla, or what. "

Leyla is my eight-year-old daughter. My old friends like Curtis have noticed a vast maturation process brought on by fatherhood. Just as important to my starting to improve as a poet, as I told Curtis, was my discovery of the Seven/Eleven poetic form innovated by our mutual friend Quincy Troupe. Here is my review of Quincy's new book Errancities where he introduces the form. All of my poems in my new book are cast as 7/11s.
I'll be back to blog more about each of these poets and to post some of their work in advance of the January 30 show. Hope to see you there!


The image is one of Amy VanDonsel's pieces from The Shape of a Man.

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