Gary Broughman’s Indie Book Watch
Poetry as performance art has become a hot commodity in recent years. You could trace it back to a variety of sources: the beat poets of the 50s, public readings by famous poets like Robert Frost—some of them recorded—or to the slam phenomenon which began in the 1980s. However it started, when you find poetry being read in public, you find an atmosphere of joy and eager anticipation.
I had the opportunity myself to perform at Chicago’s Green Mill Jazz Club, where slam inventor Marc Smith plays host, but I’ve also read in slightly more sedate settings in Orlando, Winter Park and Port Orange. Wherever one goes to read, you are sure to find creative artists for whom, as Edgar Allen Poe said, “poetry is more a passion than a purpose.”Whether spoken word poetry is of the slam variety or the open mic sessions that resemble the more traditional reading style, it all begins with words put to paper. This past month the second volume of Poets of Central Florida, A contemporary anthology hit the streets and is being featured in various performance venues around Central Florida. Titled Love and Other Passions, the 182-page collection features 57 of the area’s best known active poets. Many hail from the greater Orlando area, others from Volusia County, and still others from Brevard County and as far away as Ocala and Gainesville.
All in all, Love and Other Passions is an outstanding volume of excellent short poems ranging from one to two pages each. All the poets included practice the craft on a regular basis, and most have been published previously in journals, magazines, other anthologies or their own books. The majority are members of local or state poetry groups or societies. At least a half-dozen hold doctoral degrees of one stripe or another, which, I’ve often joked, is something I don’t hold against them. The point is that this is not a collection of neophytes. These are fine poems which will touch the heart, challenge the mind, entertain, and leave readers nodding in agreement with the revealed wisdom contained in the words.
The book was launched March 5th with a gala event in Winter Park and the public unveiling continued Tuesday, March 20th when the Tomoka Poets hosted a reception and readings at the Java Jungle on Clyde Morris in Port Orange.
Poems for Love and Other Passions were selected by a committee consisting of Russ Golata, longtime host of the First Mondays Meetup Group, which boasts more than five hundred members in the greater Orlando area, and by BJ Alligood of Tomoka Poets. Yours truly also served in selecting the best of the best.
The first printing of four hundred sold out quickly, but copies can be ordered for $11.99 online at Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com.
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