1. You don't want to repeat yourself, or to let the audience get bored (or fear that they've heard it all already). Bringing in some new talent to open the show gives the audience some new literary delights. Some of these emerging writers display dazzling gifts, both on the page and on stage.
2. You can help to promote the reputations of emerging writers. This is good karma. Someone did this for you, once. Or if they didn't, they should have.
3. It's lonely being the only reader at an event. That's okay--and appropriate--for a book launch, but in one's home town or home state, one can share the wealth (such as it is), and experience the fun of working in community.
4. You'll develop new audiences, as younger listeners attend to hear the new kids on the block.
5. You can add music to your show, depending on the talents of your team. At yesterday's readings, two fine Knoxville musicians played--Garrett Bourdon opened the show, I read a few poems, and then seasoned singer/songwriter RB Morris played a couple of delicious songs.
6. There are no drawbacks.
7. You will need to help the new writers learn to present their work (unless they are already slam champs). While this calls for more work from you, the rehearsals will be useful to your own work as well.
8. You can drink with your poetry buddies afterward (not during a show, but afterward, you bet!)
9. You'll get to know the other writers better.
10. Let's mention the good karma again. I'm not sure there's a Jewish equivalent, but there should be!
Two talented poets, Darren Jackson and Josh Robbins, will open my next show at the Laurel Theatre, April 2nd, 7 p.m. It will be exciting for me to hear them perform. My good friend and former student Kali Meister will sing during one of my poems (the poem calls for some lines from the Supreme's "Stop in the Name of Love.")
I want to invite other emerging poets for future shows. If you follow this practice of inclusion as well, let us know on Red Room how the performances go! Break a leg!
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.