Three live, free literary events are scheduled between now and next Monday, each with their own character of place and vibe.
Friday, February 22: Punk Rock Poems & Novel Drinking Games
On Friday, the Speak Social series at Java Brewing Company (1707 Bardstown Rd.) welcomes Cincinnati poet and punk scene veteran Matt Hart, author of “Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless” and “Wolf Face.” Hart is the co-editor of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking, and Light Industry. Fans of Nineties punk know him from his old band Squirtgun, and he brings that on-stage energy with him to his readings.
Here’s a video of Hart performing at Quills in 2011:
Hart will be joined by Louisville novelist Patrick Wensink, best-selling author of “Broken Piano for President.” Since Java Brewing Company serves beer and wine, you might prepare yourself for one of Wensink’s signature drinking games that often accompany his readings.
The Speak Social event begins at 7:30 p.m. There’s an open mic (sign ups begin at 7 p.m.) and Java will offer drink specials. The best thing about the Speak Social series is the informal, neighborly feel, like you all just dropped in to get something to drink and suddenly started sharing work.
Sunday, February 24: Reading in the Round
The Stone Soup Poetry Series at The Bard’s Town (1801 Bardstown Rd.) does things a little differently. Like songwriters playing in the round, this series puts four poets on stage and asks them to each read two poems at a time. Two rounds, then a break, then the circle starts back up again. Sunday’s event features Kentucky poets Matthew Haughton, author of “Stand in the Stillness of Woods” and “Bee Coursing Box” and Leigh Anne Hornfeldt, author of “East Main Aviary.” They’re joined by Louisville poets Angela Burton and Robert L. Penick. Stone Soup welcomes a musical guest — that’s Michael Stephens this month. And there’s an open mic as well.
The event starts at 5:30 and will wrap in time for the Academy Awards party The Bard’s Town hosts the same evening.
The best thing about Stone Soup is the egalitarian, in-the-round structure — it’s innovative for a poetry reading, and it creates this intriguing and inexplicable synergy where poets who don’t work these things out with each other ahead of time nevertheless find their poems speaking to one another. The exposed brick of The Bard’s Town’s side salon lends the room another layer of warmth, and the food’s pretty good, too.
Monday, February 25: Poem Chic
The Sarabande Series at the super-hip 21C Museum Hotel continues this month with poet Marcus Wicker. He’s the author of “Maybe the Saddest Thing Ever,” selected by poet DA Powell for the National Poetry Series. Wicker teaches English at the University of Southern Indiana and is the poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review. See him read two of his poems, including “Love Letter to RuPaul,” at the 2010 Cave Canem Retreat:
The Sarabande Series takes place in the galleries of 21C. The event starts at 7:30 p.m.
The best thing about the Sarabande Series is how well 21C Museum’s contemporary art complements the readings by acclaimed visiting writers. It’s chic and arty and always excellent, a fun excuse to make a Monday a night out on the town. A strong second: those cocktails from Proof’s bar will travel to the reading.