what’s funny?

October 10, 2018

Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia is home to all kinds of literary intelligence, including the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) ModPo (Modern & Contemporary American Poetry) and the online journal Jacket2, which has been challenging assumptions since 1997.

If you’re interested in the slippery slope of humor in poetry, for the next three months Sommer Browning will offer a series of commentaries on how, when, and why poetry is funny. Or not. Her introduction is here. If you’ve lost faith in humor, Browning might be able to help, or certainly there’s plenty of other material on Jacket2 to distract you from all that is unfunny in the world.

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Poetry Brothel

Tired of those plain old vanilla poetry readings? Take a cue from the Poetry Brothel. It’s a poetry reading, with poets appearing in costume to promote “the creation of character, which for poet and audience functions as disguise and as freeing device, enabling The Poetry Brothel to be a place of uninhibited creative expression in which the poets and clients can be themselves in private.”

Here’s more from the Poetry Brothel Facebook group: “The ‘Madame‘ presents a rotating cast of this city’s finest poets (both men and women) engaged in a night of surreal happenings, literary debauchery and private poetry readings. Here’s how it works: The poets play ‘whores,’ visitors play ‘johns’ (and are also encouraged to attend incognito!) but instead of physical intimacy, the poets offer the intimacy of their poetry by giving private, one-on-one readings in curtained-off areas. All of the resident ‘whores’ are available for private readings at any time during the event (and gratuities are expected!).”

There’s a Poetry Bordello in Chicago, a Poetry Brothel in Los Angeles, another in New Orleans, The Secret Order of the Libertines in Philadelphia, and a new Poetry Brothel has emerged in Kingston, New York. (Alas, a Seattle Poetry Brothel, planned as a fundraiser for Richard Hugo House, was cancelled because one of the participants tried to introduce nudity.) For more on the Chicago group, read Kathleen Rooney’s article, “Pimp My Poem,” on the Poetry Foundation website.
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the long love letter…

October 10, 2012

5101 Market St., Philadelphia

Whether it’s called the Blue Line, the El or the Market–Frankford Subway–Elevated Line, the train has been a central feature of Philadelphia’s transportation system for more than a hundred years. In 2009-2010, artist Stephen Powers and The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, with the support of the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, collaborated with 40 local and international artists to paint murals on 50 buildings along Market Street between 63rd and 45th Streets.

The murals, which are designed to be viewed by travelers on the El, comprise a long love letter, and the project is known as A Love Letter for You. Poetry in motion? See for yourself at the gallery of murals.

Steve Powers didn’t stop at the end of the line. After the Philadelphia Love Letter, he coordinated similar projects in Syracuse, New York; São Paulo, Brazil; Brooklyn, New York; and Vardo, Norway.

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