Although Poetry Night at Bistro 33 has been a successful bi-monthly event since its inception in 2006, the work involved with publicizing and promoting the event has become burdensome for UC Davis English lecturer and Poetry Night co-creator and co-host Andy Jones.
“We really do this out of the love of poetry and a desire to reach out to the community and give poets recognition – we don’t take in any salary,” Jones said. “With everything else we do we found that we couldn’t really give it the attention it deserved.”
Thus, about a year ago, he decided to enlist the help of undergraduate students, awarding them internship credit in exchange for their efforts. In the past, Jones offered only one position, but this summer he decided to change his rules to incorporate as many as eight students, turning the position into more of a class, he said.
Although Jones said he has already decided to hire four candidates whom he will begin working with this week, he is open to more applications from students.
“I’m looking for strong writers, people who really care about poetry and public performance and people who know a lot about publicity,” Jones said. “The most important thing, though, is enthusiasm and interest.”
The internship involves a minimum of three hours per week for one unit of credit to be stretched out over the first and second summer sessions. The hours are flexible, although the successful applicant must commit to attending every Poetry Night.
The intern’s duties include writing press releases and biographies for featured performers, as well as using other means of publicizing including facebook.com, daviswiki.org, craigslist.org and fliers.
Poetry Night co-host and co-creator Brad Henderson, also a UC Davis lecturer in the English department, said they started the event to foster a mainstream appreciation for poetry while offering patrons the chance to see the wide range of local talent. The only real problem they have had, he said, is that the event has grown more popular than they expected.
“With some of the featured performers in the past that are really popular, we have even run out seats, which is pretty amazing,” Henderson said. “By keeping us in touch with the latest technology, such as Facebook, the interns will help the event get even bigger and better.”
Past featured poets have included prominent UC Davis faculty and Davis residents such Joe Wenderoth, John Boe, Sandra McPherson and Joshua Clover. An open mic session, for which any attendee can sign up to perform, follows the reading by the featured author.
Community member and UC Davis alumnus Rob Roy, who has been both a featured performer and frequent attendee of Poetry Night, said that he appreciates the level of diversity that the event has incorporated.
“There are a lot of amazing performances from all sorts of different varieties and styles,” Roy said. “There’s open mic, narratives, lots of humor and banter – some stuff is mellow while other stuff is really not. You never know what [you’re] gonna get.”
Poetry Night runs on the first and third Wednesday evenings of every month and starts at 9 p.m. in the banquet room of Bistro 33, located at 226 F St. For more information on Poetry Night or how to apply for the poetry internship, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Facebook group Poetry in Davis.
SONIA PARECADAN can be reached at email@example.com.