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Top Ten Reasons to Invite New Writers to Read With You
Reading Eluard to the French!  :)

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!

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I have attended the readings

I have attended the readings of poets who read, along with their own work, some poems by other poets. They did this to give the other poets a venue. Those other poets were not present. I do not believe this practice 'caught on'.

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I like the idea of opening with an inspiring poem by someone els

Sometimes I'll open with a poem by Galway Kinnell or Paul Eluard--to set a tone, to invite the muses to join us! m

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poetry is a gift economy

I've heard this argued before -- that poetry is a gift economy -- by poets, recognizing that poets don't really get paid for their work in any reliable way, who think of this as a real positive. It frees you up to write without feeling completely beholden to a "market," which means you are freer to be true to your ideals, your politics, your interest in experimentation, what have you. There are limits on how far this argument can be pushed -- I think markets operate on a non-cash basis, sometimes, in ways that are fully in effect in the poetry world -- but there is more than a kernel of truth in it, nonetheless. Your post extends this idea of the gift economy beyond book swapping and online posting and such, offering another great way to share the poetry wealth! : )

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It's good to be reminded about the gift economy!

We've referred to that lovely Lewis Hyde book before--The Gift. It's good to be reminded to share the poetry scene, the poetry "wealth."

You are one of poetry's gifts, Evie! Rock on!

Thanks as ever for your responsiveness. Marilyn

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Good post.

I haven't seen a writer use this idea, but I think it is an excellent one.

It is a way to add variety to a reading, increase your audience(since your guest poet may bring a few of his/her buddies or groupies), increase publicity and buzz, and build a community for the written arts.

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Just found this excellent note, Sue.

Exactly, exactly. You see my thinking here. Also, it's just good karma to bring the next generations into the public sphere.

Cheers and good wishes to you and your work! Marilyn