68.6 F

Davis, California

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Talent displayed weekly at Poetry Night Reading Series

The Poetry Night Reading Series is held at the John Natsoulas Gallery at 521 First St. in Davis on the first and third Thursdays of every month.

The reading series, which starts at 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public, features an hour-long reading from a guest poet followed by an hour-long open mic performance.

Emeritus professor Sandra Gilbert speaks tonight, while English professor Joe Wenderoth performs on Nov. 15 and Sacramento State professor Joshua McKnight performs on Dec. 6.

The Poetry Night Reading Series is emceed by Dr. Andy Jones, writing professor at UC Davis. It started in the summer of 2007 at Bistro 33 and has since moved to the Natsoulas Gallery.

“John Natsoulas is a longtime supporter of the arts and a longtime supporter of my radio show,” said Jones, whose show “Dr. Andy’s Poetry and Technology Hour” airs on KDVS. “He lets us use his gallery rent-free.”

How does Jones attract guest readers for Poetry Night?

“Because of my radio show and my advocacy of poetry, I know a lot of the readers beforehand,” Jones said.

He also follows the schedules of traveling poets and attempts to work them into the schedule.

“In some cases, poets will come to me and ask if they can do a reading. I may also see a great poet and try to recruit them,” Jones said.

UC Davis English professor Joshua Clover, who has done three readings for the series, loved the experience.

“I have loved the chance to read there,” Clover said in an email. “We usually get a pretty good crowd, often over 100 people. Also, we are able to have drinks, which makes poetry and most other things better.”

The open-mic component was described by Jones as being “stronger” than other local open mic nights because of strict time limits placed on the event. He believes that this leads to a higher quality of work from the readers.
Evan White, the event’s co-producer and a recent graduate in English, had some experience with the open-mic night.
“There is nothing quite so useful to someone who aspires to writing as a live audience, especially a generous one,” White said in an email. “A harsh crowd can prematurely discourage an individual who may have great potential. The Poetry Night Reading Series is home to a happy medium, and aspiring writers, poets, and performers do well to utilize it.
Overall, White finds the experience wholly beneficial.

“I’d say the exposure to so many varied forms of poetry, prose, performance, and everything occupying the spaces between, has been as beneficial to me as any actual class ever was.”

Open-mic participants are encouraged to show up at 7:45 p.m. to sign up. For more information, check out poetryindavis.com.

JOHN KESLER can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here