Flyleaf Books’ monthly poetry readings, which often feature award-winning poets, are places for friends and family to gather and discuss their passion for poetry.
The poetry readings, which are held once a month, started in 2010, when the Flyleaf storeowner asked Debra Kaufman and poet Stan “JS” Absher to begin organizing these events.
Since then, the readings have attracted poets from all over the state. Usually, they consist of two featured writers and an open-mic section, where anyone from the audience can sign up and read.
“I like it because I get to meet the poets,” Absher said.
Absher also said that the poetry readings are not only a way for him to stay involved within the literary community, but are also a source of inspiration.
“When poets read, it makes their work jump off the page,” he said.
For this reading, Absher and Kaufman selected poets Kelly Lenox and David Manning who were winners of the annual Flyleaf poetry contest.
Lennox and Manning will read their award-winning works, titled “Potent Backyard” and “Elixir of Love,” respectively.
When hearing short pieces — such as Manning’s “Elixir of Love” — the audience rarely comes to terms with how long a poem takes to write before publication.
For Manning’s piece, the journey to publication was 20 years. During that period, he drew inspiration from several sources, such as Italy, the opera and his father’s singing career.
“The first concept is an act of sculpting and carving,” Manning said. “Sometimes poems spring up and other times they have to accumulate.”
For Manning and other attendees, the Flyleaf readings are more than a means to share their writings; they are a way to meet others and sometimes even a way to have fun.
In past years, Flyleaf has hosted themed readings. Last October, participants were encouraged to dress up as dead poets and read their various literary works.
“The first year there were four Dorothy Parkers,” said Stan Absher, one of two organizers of the readings. “They had a cigarette, a strand of pearls and they were dressed in black and were holding a fake cocktail.”
In the future, Flyleaf said it hopes to reinstate the dead poet theme.
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