I'm really starting to like poetry readings. You go, you read, you get free drinks, you hear others read, and if you're really lucky, someone buys a book. The Other Rooms reading last week was particularly fun in that it was 2 blocks from my house and Other Rooms gave me a pile of chapbooks.
I fully intended to write about all the chapbooks, but the semester is encroaching, I do want to mention the work of Chip Livingston. Ironically, Chip was the only reader who didn't show up. The other poets read his work, and it caught me. Livingston's chapbook is called Alarum. The poems are at turns lyrical, funny, narrative, and experimental. Livingston is a poet not trying to follow any form or trend. My favorite poem in the book is poem to my boyfriend's human immunodeficiency virus. The poem is lyrical without making any abstract moves. Livingston is able to 'live' and write 'in' his topic. The intensity is there. He does not have to divorce himself through language for the sake of the academic or to spare his own emotions. Some lines:
you are not a small bird very near the beach
you are not a boat
you are forgotten, sterile
you are not the cinematic equivalent
As one reads through Livingston's book, they can see that he has what it takes to be a fine poet. They can also see that he is just beginning the journey. Many of Livingston's poems are on their way to a mature voice, a many are already there. I look forward to a book.