Saturday, December 2, 2006

Coffee Shop Poetry Reading: Matt Porubsky

Brian Daldorph, a professor at the University of Kansas, hosted a reading tonight at Aimee's coffee shop in downtown Lawrence. The occasions was publication of a book by his former student Matt Porubsky. See the Lawrence Journal-World article by Mindie Paget: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/dec/02/poet_wellversed_voyeurism/?arts There were also readings by visiting writers from Kansas City connected to Kansas City Voices, a literary magazine.

Brian has worked as an organizer of readings for years in Lawrence. He also edits Coal City Review, and he has published strong collections of his own writings. During his own brief reading, he mentioned he has taught poetry writing at the local county jail for five years. He and the editors of Kansas City Voices embody the assertion of independent voices against corporate publishing interests. Their work is so important.

I was happy to hear readers from KC and to acquaint myself with Porubsky, a railroad conductor by day and a free-thinking poet all the time. My own dad worked on the railroad, and his writing made me nostalgic for that travelers' lifeway.

Porubsky's $10 book Voyeur Poems can be ordered through briandal@ku.edu.

Photographs fit seamlessly into the text, as the archetypal human figures in them echoes the sense of distanced and mediated sight. This is a great debut book--Porubsky has a fully formed narrative voice throughout, and he controls long lines well. The poet's voyearistic doppelganger discloses eroticism, intimacy, and humor, as in the ending of "The Walkin' Away Solo Blues: "You watch her walk off/ along the creack you though you made/and her shadow comes back/ and sits down to gnaw at you for a while/ and you abide./ yes, you oblige." This is a young poet to watch.