When I say the word “poetry” to certain people, they immediately cease all eye contact. I imagine they are having unpleasant flashbacks to high school English class and are afraid I’m going to ask them to recall the difference between alliteration and assonance, identify the meter of a line, or conjure some meaning out of a passage on the spot (the woman represents a sunset; the sunset, of course, represents death).
But at Poetry in the Boro, no literary analysis is required. This free monthly event consists of both featured readings and an open mic where writers share everything from spoken word to sonnets. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy listening to contemporary poetry and possibly even share some of your own work in an encouraging environment.
The next Poetry in the Boro will be held Sunday, Nov. 12, at Murfreesboro Little Theatre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and featured poets read at 7. About an hour of open mic follows a brief reception and book signing time. Featured readers this month are Columbia, Tennessee poet Jeff Hardin and Murfreesboro poet Bryanna Licciardi.
Jeff Hardin’s fifth poetry book, No Other Kind of World, recently won the X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize from Texas Review Press. Among Tennessee’s most prolific poets, Hardin has published over 500 poems in journals and outlets such as Poetry Daily, Verse Daily and The Writer’s Almanac. An English professor at Columbia State Community College, he explores in his latest book our “need to witness miracles” and seek understanding in a troubled world.
Bryanna Licciardi is author of Skin Splitting, her debut collection recently published by the award-winning Finishing Line Press. She is a doctoral student at MTSU, where she also works as an academic advisor. Often with dark humor, Licciardi embraces her obsessions and fears in poems that probe body image, odd footnotes of history and imagined dates with serial killers. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Poetry can be enjoyed like music—you may not like every song you hear, but there’s something for everyone. Give it a try with us at Poetry in the Boro. Find more details at facebook.com/poetryintheboro.
Here’s a poem from Licciardi’s new Skin Splitting collection, one that also appears in Caravel Literary Arts Journal:
by Bryanna Licciardi
I want to give something that hurts,
just like Gandhi, or Buddha,
or Mayor Bloomberg.
I want to pretend I’ve been lost
in the woods. I want people
to believe the bear attacks I survived
and the trees that I felled. I want to order
for the man waiting next to me
in line at Starbucks, who is helplessly
reading and rereading the menu,
as if he’s never heard of mocha Frappuccinos
or ancient grain flatbreads.
I want to move to Lake Charles, Louisiana,
the kind of place where people take notice
of new neighbors but are apprehensive
to greet them. I want to clip your weight.
I want to take scissors to my anger,
and watch you drift away.
I want to never drink again.
I want thirst to be a waste of my time.
I want to figure out if this apartment building
has an office. I want to see if it contains
happiness. I want my body to grow like a river,
narrow, then wide, then endlessly.