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Monday, January 17, 2011

SL ARTS & LITERATURE: Poets! Poets Everywhere!

"Pirate Neko Poet" Klannex Northmead hosts The Poets Plunder
What’s on Klannex Northmead’s mind?  If you stop in to the Bookworm Café in the Southern Tier, New York at 6AM SLT on a Saturday morning you will find out.  The gravely voiced Brit leaves no subject stone unturned: political, moral, ecological, philosophical.  Klannex takes them all on and tells you exactly what he thinks.  It’s a strong cuppa for that early in the morning.  But each time I teleport in, I realize this is not the top of the morning for Klannex.  He is eight hours ahead of me.  The events of the day, the week, and the year have had plenty of daylight time to sink into his brain: he has no need to hold back.  The coffee pungent atmosphere of the Bookworm is the perfect setting for his weekly Open Mic session, The Poet’s Plunder.

 Open mics are a wonder in and of themselves.  They seem to breed across the grid. If you are part of the right groups you will soon discover that every day there are one or more open mics happening somewhere on the Grid (and that is just in English!).  Open mics are a double edged sword: there is no guarantee that all the poetry read is of a common quality, and yet a forum for aspiring poets to take their work out for a spin in safety is essential.  One can quickly get the sense that not everyone with a mic should necessarily “open” it, yet complex forms like the many different poetical styles are only verbally mastered by reading them out loud.  So anyone going to an open mic poetry session should be prepared to be gracious, kind, and supportive.  Everyone is learning, everyone is trying.  Everyone is expressing and that can be hard to take some times when anger and frustration permeate the works read.  That is when respect and empathy are essential. 

Not all open mics are alike.  Certainly, open mics can turn into a kind of a free for all at times: someone gets their mic open and you can hear the sense of entitlement kick in while the host discretely suggests that there are others in the room to be heard.  However, clever and respectful devotees of the poetical muse on the grid have come up with some great ways to encourage participation and ward against heady excesses.  Here are some of my favorites:

The Poets Plunder: Hosted by Klannex Northmead every Saturday morning at 6AM SLT at the Bookworm Café.
Southern Tier New York – Tips accepted.

The Poets' Plunder is a small read held in the comfortable and themed Bookworm Cafe. Come listen Saturday mornings and be entertained, or bring poems to share or to have read, favorites you have written or work by a favorite author. The poetry usually lasts an hour and a half and if there is time permitting a flight in the Pirate's sky boat around the NY Healthscape sims afterwards.  Every week the best original poet is voted for by the audience and wins a gem.  These awards are cumulative and three gems entitles the poet to a share of the prize booty (often $L10,000).   The prize payout is matched by a donation to

Poetry on the Halfshell: Hosted by Corwyn Allen every Thursday afternoon at 4PM SLT.
Amatsu Shima – Tips accepted and support the venue.

In the serenely beautiful Japanese setting of Amatsu Shima, Corwyn Allen welcomes friends old and new to share an hour of original poetry and favorite poems.  Poems may be read by individuals or passed to the host or another reader for presentation.  Lasts one hour but participants are encouraged to linger if they wish.

Sounds of Poems: Hosted by Written Word with revolving pairs of presenters each Monday afternoon from 3PM SLT till sometimes as late as 5PM SLT
Cookie Town Center – Tips accepted for Written Word and venue.

This twist on the usual open mic has two assigned presenters in voice reading poems they have chosen as well as poems passed to them from the audience.  A giver passes out note card copies of poems read (as appropriate by copyright) for those participating to add to their virtual poetry collections.  Sounds of Poems is a great way to get introduced to a broad cross-section of forms and poets, past and present.

And there is more!  Here are just a handful of the open mic poetry sessions you can find regularly in a week in Second Life (especially Sundays):

Now, these are just a small sampling of the open mics available on the grid.  Is there anywhere to find a listing of more?  You bet!  That brings us back to the Pirate Neko Poet himself, Klannex Northmead.  His monthly publishing of The Apple lists poetry events so numerous you’ll make yourself dizzy trying to attend them all.  He includes workshops and study sessions as well as open mics.  The Apple is available in world, and also as a resource on the internet.  On The Apple website, Klannex not only provides event listings, but essential tips for presenting in voice in Second Life without splitting people’s ears, how to host a weekly session and build an audience, and other great resources and tips.  To discover the amazing array of possibilities for the established poet or one who seek to learn, check it out:

Life must be good to be a Pirate and a Poet!

~ Caledonia Skytower, Reporting
“Any ink is good ink, even if it is virtual”


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