On February 26, Jennifer Hill-Kaucher and Dan Waber will be Poetry Thursdays' featured performers at the Midtown Cinema's Reel Cafe, 250 Reily Street, Harrisburg
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Dan Waber and Jennifer Hill-Kaucher are poets who thrive primarily outside of academia. Their work, past and present, defies easy categorization. Both approach poetry experimentally, but it would be incorrect to say that they are experimental poets. They are experimental because, while they are steeped in the reading and traditional techniques of poetry, they are constantly at play in their work.
Waber’s work is wide-ranging, from incisive and thoughtful analysis of bpNichol’s work and archiving of Nichol’s poetry to the playfulness and nonsense of Waber’s recent abecedarian variant: Boys A-Z: A Primer (Paper Kite Press, 2006). The latter uses the constraint of rotating alphabets to describe 26 male types. Adam’s story ends with “z” as one would expect, but Billy’s text ends with “a”…and so on through 26 stories of male perfidy.
Jennifer Hill-Kaucher’s poetry career has followed a slightly more traditional path. Her poetry collections, Questioning Walls Open (2001) and Book of Days (2005) were published by FootHills Publishing. (FootHills Publishing was founded by Buffalo-raised Michael Czarnecki in 1986.)
Her poems are well-crafted with a sensitivity to place, which she says may come from growing up in rural Pennsylvania. Hill-Kaucher writes, “That landscape left a big footprint on who I am and how I write—it’s probably why I write. We didn’t have cable TV, the mall was miles away, and my sister and I had to (got to!) find creative ways to entertain ourselves. We were explorers and my parents were very supportive of whatever we wanted to try out—writing, art, astronomy, theatre, bad cooking.”
Waber and Hill-Kaucher both are based in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where they run Paper Kite Press, a poetry press spinoff of a design business Hill-Kaucher bought in 1995. Paper Kite Press began publishing poetry in 2003, she writes, “so poets can get out in the world and share their work. I think it’s important for the world to have more poetry in it—and for people to recognize that there is poetry in the world.”
The Reel Cafe is located in the Midtown Cinema, 250 Reily Street. This event is presented by the Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel. Marty Esworthy will host. The reading begins at 7pm and continues until 9. For more information: (717) 909-6566. http://almostuptown.com/
True, in principle, proverbs and reverb provide ample direction for everyone. --Elfred Vito-Januski