Poetry at Barbaric Yawp

For the second time, I've joined Barbaric Yawp Open Mic, which runs the fourth Sunday of every month (except when specified otherwise.)  Over the last few years, I've been exposed to a great deal more poetry, modern and classical both and I've come to appreciate that the Twin Cities really are leaders in the arts, as I've been to multiple open mics in the area.

I read an excerpt from the end of Blue Bells, based on the descriptions left to us of that day, including Bruce's actual words.

The first sight of the English would inspire dread in the bravest troops in Christendom, it was later said. They covered the land like locusts, tens of thousands. Sunlight glinted off helmets, armors, spears. White banners, too many to count, snapped over them. Carnival-colored silken pennants flapped in the summer breeze. The earth shook under their heavy warhorses. Their columns stretched for twenty miles. 
The Scots gathered, five thousand, for Mass, on the morning of the battle. They formed their lines with the trees and Stirling Castle behind them, facing the narrow stretch of the Bannock Burn over which the English must flow. The Bruce walked among them, marked as separate only by the thin band of gold circling his auburn hair and the suffering of leadership stamped on his face. 
"We are hopelessly outnumbered!" His voice rang like a clarion. "Any man who wishes to turn now and go to the aid and protection of his family may do so without consequence! 'Twill be held against no man, should he choose to walk away now!" 
His voice carried clear and far. 
The men heard. 
The men held their ground

Barbaric Yawp, poetry readings, open mic, WH Auden, St. Paul arts scene
I also read two poems written in the ancient Celtic ae freshlighe form, both poems about major figures in Scottish history--True Thomas and James Douglas.  I'll write elsewhere the particular incident from the life of James Douglas, told by the poem.  It's a great story!

Last night, we had about 16 readers.  Some standouts to me were Jim Fisher, who read a short story called Waiting for My Socks to Dry, that talked about forgiveness and reconciliation with his son, Austin Ryan's story about Horatio, who is not OCD, but ends up subsumed in cleaning the keys on his laptop keyboard, Eric Tu's excellent reading of two poems from his new book, and a reading of W.H. Auden's Master and Boatswain.  (My apologies to the poet who read it if I give the wrong name, as I don't know everyone there well, but I'm pretty sure it was Alan Sinclair.)

Poetry styles go through 'fashions' like anything else, and I appreciated this piece written in a style very different from what is popular today.  Although Dylan Thomas's version of it is best known, I liked this version, as the narrator is very clear and easy to understand, in addition to the poem being on the screen.  Enjoy!

  • February 10, 2017: I'll be reading and signing books at Magers and Quinn with Genny Kieley.  Complimentary wine and a medieval dessert!
  • February 5, 12, and 19, I'll be reading on the Vehicle of Expression, part of the Art Shanty Project
  • February 25, 2017: I will co-host Food Freedom on AM 950 with Laura Hedlund and Karen Olson Johnson.  Guests: Michael Agnew, craft beer expert and Ross Fischman on Russian literature.  We'll taste Russian beer: listen to the whole program from last month.

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