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Poetry Reading Monomaniacs

I had a fun night reading as guest poet at poet Angela France's Buzzwords series, in Cheltenham last night - it's a tight-knit group of serious, local poets, who gather for workshops, open mics, and guest readings, every month, back of a pub. The sound system is professional, and the listening mostly very attentive. The poets presented a strong field during the open mic. They also buy books, a good sign. But, what is it with poetry events? I know it's not just me.

After a long (40 minute) reading (I was asked to do that much), which had gone over well an "actor" in the room sidled up, fixed me with that gleam I know so well, and began to tell me how to "improve my reading for next time" - offering some unasked-for tips. Never mind that it was now 10 pm, I was tired, and looking forward to the justly-deserved after-reading pint.

Poets, it seems, are afflicted with such amateur critics, because, I suspect, few who attend such events fathom the effort, energy, and skill, that goes into planning a serious, engaged, longer set (choice of poems, themes, tempo, inter-poem banter, or not, etc.). To the uninitiated, or the plain egoistic, poetry readings are simply an excuse to make another St. Anthony pin-cushion out of the visiting guest poets.

Should poets create some form of Etiquette? Like - if you want to say I was a bad reader - don't. Or not, please, 30 seconds after stepping down from the stage, tired.

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Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:

HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!