Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Yellowjacket's Press 4th Annual Poets' Happy Hour and Prime Time Show

The 2011 Yellowjacket Press (YP) Annual Poets' Happy Hour and Prime Time Show was held last Friday at the HCC Ybor Performing Arts Theater. YP's new chapbooks of poetry by Tampa Poet Laureate James Tokley and St Pete Poet Laureate Peter Meinke were released. They both read, along with Erica Dawson, Enid Shomer, Pamela Hill Epps, Gregory Byrd, Cole Bellamy and Kirsten Holt.

Yellowjacket is a small independent press owned and run by Gianna Russo.

Gregory Byrd
Gregory Byrd read his "Cloud Language in Albania", a poem about a trip taken on a grant with his family to Albania. He connects his temporary location to his home, relating one to the other, along with his feelings and perceptions. One stand-out line was: "The clouds speak to the mountains, but never the sea".
 He also read poems about being a Veteran, a murdered cousin in Utah, and an evening in Albania after his daughter's geometry lesson. Inquisitive, moving poetry that is sometimes light and conceptually lilting, other times raising deep questions. You can read some of Gregory's poems here [Link] .

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Raffle tickets were sold, and an animated raffle held onstage. After which a beautiful, well-loved antique fishing reel was auctioned off.

Kirsten Holt

Kirsten Holt  read a poignant poem that seemed to contain every slang term for sex bits and acts imaginable. One lie that stood out for me: "He divorced his identifiers". You can read other poems by Kirsten here [Link].

Erica Dawson

Erica Dawson started with a Maryland piece that soon edged out into slavery and the nature of history. There was a poem about personal events during a trip to Archer City in Larry McMurtry country, cold vodka and a cowboy. Another about a yet-to-be-conceived child, and a last one about a speaker  in the Devil's Walking Stick. Read other poems by her here: [Link].

Peter Meinke

St. Pete Poet Laurete Peter Meinke's works ranged from Apples, a poem about the imminent World War II, a letter to a reader, and old houses. Meinke has a way of shifting the meaning of a poem with one line to a far deeper level. From the old house piece: "Houses have secret shadows trembling" Read more here: [Link], [Link]

James Tokley

Tampa Poet Laureate James Tokley, who has been reviewed here before,  read several poems, amongst them "The Epic of The Sandwiche Cubano", "Loneliness: A Connection", "Joanna's Fingers", and many, many more. Tokley's poems are grounded in hard-earned street wisdom and
the hearts and minds of the common man.

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Do yourself a favor. Go here [Link] and order up Tokley's, Meinke's and several other chapbooks of poetry from Giana Russo. They will move, provoke and make you feel and think.

The picture on the cover of James Tokley's "Epic of the Sandwiche Cubano" was requestd by Yellowjacket's Gianna Russo and was donated by me. It's an honor to have my picture on the cover of Mr. Tokley's book.

Congratulations to the Poets, Gianna Russo and Yellowjacket Press, the benefactors who keep it going, and HCC Ybor for a wonderful evening, and for keeping poetry alive in our world.

--- Luis

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