The Great Plotnik

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Dance-Nik at the Gallery

It was a blast to go hear The Great Dance-Nik read at the Gallery Cafe or Cafe Gallery last night. She far outdistanced the other poets reading, in heart and honesty both, to say nothing of the craft she has honed on the mean streets of $7 Perrier Manhattan. Plotnik could have listened to Dance-Nik read for a couple hours -- he could have Dance-Nik'd all night? But sadly, she only got fifteen minutes.

There were three other poets on the program. The three women were all good, in very different ways. The guy -- well, let's just say the Powell Street cable car line runs down Washington Street right outside the gallery door, and the cable car bellman rang those bells, it seemed, right when we needed them the most, as if he, too, was unable to bear another asinine reference to teeth.

There was a great band playing down the street, but, as always, the crowd parted early and went home. Everyone had a good reason. But really. We're not getting older, are we?

Poetry is a matter of taste -- Mississippi Motorhead, who writes poetry himself, came to the club and he liked Mr. Tooth, whose poems probably had nothing to do with teeth, though Plotnik can't be sure about it, since he really didn't understand anything the man was talking about, but the tipoff was that the poems were entitled, like, "Number 26," as in the lower frontal incisor. A drawing of the position of each tooth in the mouth accompanied each poem. This was meant to be illustrative of something or other. Motorhead liked that the poet had a vision.

Plotnik does not consider himself among the poetry cognoscenti. He learned this was true in college when he realized that all his friends loved Ezra Pound.

Plotnik's taste in poetry always runs to GETTING IT. He's willing to work for his understanding, but there has to be a payoff, if only a hint. A hint will do.

"Lord, just give me one stanza, one sentence even, to latch on to, something to justify why I'm drinking this expensive coffee."


"OK, then just don't make every poem about death. Or teeth."

"Sorry, no can do."

The last reader on the bill was pretty incomprehensible herself, but very interesting to listen to. You got a sense of how she felt, how she loved the sound of words mixed together in new ways and that she had a house she was building, and when she got it done it would be quite a sight to behold.

Ah, being a critic is easy, you know? It's hard work to get up in front of people and perform, especially when you know quite a few of them. Dance-Nik is polished, but her voice still wavers a bit, betraying that nervousness that takes years to overcome. She's really good, and it's always exciting to hear your friends discover their unique voice.


At 5:40 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

Yes, Karen is REALLY good! Thanks so much for the to/fro ride last night...

At 7:34 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Thanks for being there Doug (for the past 10 years!). I have to agree with Eric about Richard Loranger however. I think using a dental chart to talk about whatever one wants (desire, for example) is brilliant. However, I would like to see the words on the page so I can absorb them better. And I thought Jane Ormerod was terrific. I'm partial, however, as both poets are part of my Cornelia Street Cafe community.

At 8:20 PM, Blogger DAK said...

Dance-Nik, this is why there is more than one poet. You can have all you like of your buddy. Your poem about your menthol cigarette smelling grandma reminds me of mine. I don't remember her smell, but the woman was always ready for a poker game, any game, anywhere, anytime. And now I learn my Mom's best recipes are all from Grandma Helen.

At 7:20 AM, Blogger Karen said...

My grandmother's name was also Helen! Are we related?


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