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Spoken Word Paris

On Sept 5th I dropped in at Spoken Word Paris on their first week of return after the summer break. It was a wonderful atmosphere. Poets from all over read sang, spoke, recited or performed in English, French, Spanish, and Italian. I tried to photograph all but missed some.

banter from audience Troy
Audience banter caused laughter. Was this during the good news report? And Canadian ex-pat Troy’s surrealism caused laughter. At one point there was a goat’s gramma coming out of a bellybutton biting its way out with an organ grinder?

a rap new corrupt press author
Some people recited, such a this rap dropped. Suzanne Allen read from her new corrupt chapbook Verisimilitude with doggie companion wanting to be nearby, and comment on poems thru the night himself.

reading Amira Baraka's chapbook with light assistance
There were serious parts of reading Amira Baraka’s chapbook (with light assistance). The reader implored for more than the personal poem of individual lives but recognizing and being active in political realities.

Valentino and troupe did a 5-minute mystery theatre of A Crime of Passion.

Others played guitars and sang and had their CDs on hand.
moments of song
Marie did a Red Stripes cover.

Mo gave an announcement about 100,000 poets for change. As much as I see about this, I’m still not under what they want to change. Change is good as an operating principle? Now there are 600 readings in 60 countries September 24th. It seems open-ended. Like poem-in-your-pocket-day or Random Acts of Poetry, it is about “reconnecting” poetry and the general population in solidarity.

reading Kafka at random David
(On left) Mr. James reading aphorisms of Kafka at random until the bell dings. (on right) Regular host David, who also runs Zero magazine, read off his screen.

reading from the screen
Quite a few people off screens and handhelds, and this one of the few times I was reading off of paper.

At one point there was a clown!

Hamilton Arts Review Ashley
Paul from Hamilton Arts & Letters was the feature. Ashley was asked to read Jeff Seffinga’s poem again, this time as if on amphetamines (and my camera did this. the suggestible hardware.). Other poems by Sima Rabinowitz and James Deahl were read by nominated volunteers.

lisa reading been shed boreromantic poems and the dinosaur
Lisa Pasold was up. I read from been shed bore. And Eric who rocked the dino and read love poem about desire running across the rooftops.

duckie ambiance
There was a varied duckie atmosphere.

Considering what made the atmosphere so pleasant I can notice a few things: it was return week and reunion so people were especially happy to see one another again. I’m more used to readings like this.

People drifted in and out according to how much energy they had. The room was full, standing room only and smoking could happen just outside the door. People had freedom to move. (Unlike 3 reading series in Ottawa, the person at the mic or front did not call out or shame anyone who came late or left early, making so none of that disincentive to come at all.)

What else worked? The 5-minute time limit was respected. 3 hours can move along like 20 minutes in small parcels. People do their thing and get on with it.

People seemed to be interested in or respectful of each other’s ideas. No conversations or moans at the back. In Ottawa it seems common that if the speaker isn’t speaking your language you can talk among yourselves so people who do speak the other language can’t hear either.

It was wonderful to hear other languages. Even when I went into bookstores, things are categorized by subject, presuming people who want to know about, say, Goethe, may read German, Italian, French, English or whatever language they have the books in.

There was a mix of styles. No ghettoization there either. It keeps it more lively to have serious or whatever. Lovely refreshingness to that.

Spoken Word Paris is back on the 19th then goes back to the normal weekly in October.

Related posts:

  1. Canadian Festival of Spoken Word The 7th annual Canadian Festival of Spoken Word runs Oct 12-16th in Ottawa. 18 teams from across Canada have done run-offs over the last few months to be chosen to...
  2. Canadian Festival of the Spoken Word: Victoria November 10-14 [via David Silverberg] The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word is returning on Nov. 10 to 14, touching down in lovely Victoria, B.C. We encourage you to come on out and...
  3. Spoken Word Revolution, Redux (cross-posted at I’ve got a review copy of The Spoken Word Revolution Redux. It is book 2 in a series on the history of Spoken Word. It is by...

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  1. Just to let you and your readers know, SpokenWord Paris is now hosted by Au Chat Noir, 76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud 75011, Métro Parmentier/Couronnes. You can find more info on our new web site:!

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