For twenty years we (in Oakland) and Larry Robinson (in Sebastopol) have been hosting evenings of shared poetry, storytelling and music. We aim to inspire each other to engage in “poetic conversation.” There is only one rule: no reading. Actually, there is a second rule (which refers back to the first): There are only two kinds of people, prisoners and outlaws.
We often begin with the ancient invocation to Dionysus:
Be good to us, you girl-crazy goat!
We the poets begin and end our singing with you.
And it’s impossible without you.
Without remembering you, we cannot remember our sacred songs!
We’ve found that when someone makes the effort to memorize a poem, it comes, strangely, out of his or her own body and own life. And one person’s effort to make beauty often inspires others to do the same. Our capacity to imagine grows! Below is an essay Barry wrote that goes into more detail.