Saturday, September 3, 2011
This is a Poetry Lab success story!
I met Paul at the Soundry in late Sept. 2009 during one of their Verbal Assault nights. Every Friday was a Verbal Assault night, actually. Verbal Assault being a combination of poetry/comedy/performance/dialogue/WHAT-HAVE-YOU nights at the time. I was there to tune up for a reading I was involved with the following weekend outside of Baltimore and I remember Paul as much for his one legged hopping as for his poetry.
A few months later, December 2009, I started the Poetry Lab on the first Friday of the month at the Soundry and Paul was a fixture from the beginning. I liked what I heard and I also knew he was in the MFA program at George Mason. He kept coming to the Poetry Lab and I kept getting to hear him, so in the natural progression of things, I offered him a Feature for November 2010. Now, Paul is a regular at the Soundry so word of his upcoming Feature was shared with Jen, the owner of the Soundry, who urged Paul to "do something different" and with that was born a multimedia presentation of a poem that Paul had written earlier entitled "The Best Way to Drink Tea". He debuted the piece in November 2010 with a short film by Ben Nicholson and percussion by Spencer Leach. It was stunningly successful! Even as it was being performed for the first time, while standing in the back of the room, I knew that this was something special. They had done something very, very interesting.
I immediately approached Paul about publishing the piece. That led to the book The Best Way to Drink Tea which came out in Spring 2011, with a still image from Nicholson's film on the cover. It's now in its second printing and the group (dunno if they consider themselves as a group but for writing purposes I group them) have performed the piece a few times. It's been recorded for eventual Youtube posting. The book is available here.