We're Trying to do Something Delicate and Precise: A Poetry Reading Reviewed

Poem, Drink, Love
If our reading at Poco Wine Bar last night was a piece of theater (it was) or a string quartet (it was) we could look for a review in the morning paper. It's true we were lucky enough to get a mention in The Spectator before our actual event.

And yes, it's becoming more evident that Seattle is a city of literary proportions with an array of arts festivals, independent bookshops, and most importantly, wildly creative activists. Arts Crush, Lit Crawl, World Book Night and dozens of different reading series make this a superb environment for any literary artist to flourish in.

But I digress. Last night four poets read at Poco Wine Bar and the crowd loved it. The night began with an amazing recitation by John  Duvernoy. He informed the crowd that on his way to the venue his poems had fallen out of his pocket. There wasn't time to bicycle home so he would do his best to present his poems by heart. The poems seemed to be forming right there in front of us, coming out of his body as if he was creating them just for us.

Next the crowd was treated to the work of Rebecca Hoogs. She read from her debut collection, Self Storage. Rebecca chose a long and beautiful poem in 13 parts. She confessed that writing 13 short sections of "Long Spell" was how she tricked herself into writing a long poem. I love that she included a line for Napoleon's horse, Marengo, and the line "I am married / to the subject." Hoog's poem was a listening pleasure.

I read next and then passed the invisible microphone over to poet and novelist Karen Finneyfrock who involved the audience in an Occupy action, a group voice asking the merrymakers downstairs to whisper together for a mere ten minutes while the upstairs merrymakers listened to poetry. Although a single "no" was shouted from below, Finneyfrock still won.

She brought our upstairs crew that much closer together with our voices joining in a chorus in defense of poetry. Her true telling of the sea-witch story was a perfect ending to the hour.  And so the night began, with poetry of love, addiction, and owls.

"We're trying to do something delicate and precise," Karen Finneyfrock declared. Every evening should begin with a superb glass of wine and poetry.


  1. Susan, your reading was amazing. It has stayed with me. The poem about your students rang with compassion. Thank you!

    1. Thank you for hopping the ferry and huffing it up to Capitol Hill. I loved having your warm, smart presence in the room!

  2. "We're trying to do something delicate and precise," Karen Finneyfrock declared. Every evening should begin with a superb glass of wine and poetry-- Not getting an arguement from me. :-)

  3. Thanks, Michael! These words may become my new mantra.


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