Fifteen years ago, I founded a little reading series at Bar 13 called “a little bit louder,” and after 4 years, turned it over to a group of close friends and fellow poets, including Lynne Procope, one of my best friends, mentors, co-founders, and all around wonderful person. The series, renamed louderARTS several years back, is still going strong every Monday night, but prior to last Monday, it had been a looooong time since I’d been back, and even longer since it felt like home.
A series of semi-related events found me back there last week, and for the first time since that initial four-year run, it actually felt like home again, from the start of the show, to my getting on stage to read a new poem, all the way to end of the night a couple blocks away at Reservoir, deep in debate with a passionate group of poets, including my other co-founder, Roger Bonair-Agard, on his last Monday before heading back to Chicago for a stretch.
I’ve noted often in the past that most of what I preach and practice when it comes to marketing and community-building, I learned during those four years of Mondays, and by the end of the night last Monday, I realized how big a hole I’d created when I walked away from that part of my life.
So, I’m back.
What that means exactly beyond being there as often as possible — in mind, body, and spirit — is still to be determined, but that’s a starting point. Along with a commitment to writing again. Not blogging, not tweeting, but old-fashioned pen-to-paper (or fingers to keyboard/touchscreen) writing.
Poems, in particular, a form that I’ve often discounted as having been an important but passing fancy, but have realized of late is the one that offers me the most satisfaction.
I’m particularly looking forward to tonight’s show, their SLAM FINALS, always an energetic night, but especially intriguing for me as I’ve only heard one of the poets competing (and only a few times), while the rest are complete strangers to me. That was always one of the most appealing aspects of the slam: new voices taking you on unexpected journeys.
If you’re in the NYC area, join us tonight!
And if not tonight, you’ll find me there pretty much every Monday from now on.
Because you can go home again, and I’m thrilled to return.