Saturday, September 8, 2007

Peter Carlaftes Electrifies the Cornelia St. Reading

There was a feeling in the air before the poetry reading yesterday that something fantastic was about to happen. And it did, as Peter Carlaftes electrified the audience with a reading featuring six incredible, mostly unpublished poems that bridged the themes of NYC street life with the desire to create.

Features for this reporter included "Ambling," which deals with the idea of meeting the "successful" version of yourself on the street, replete with polyester suit, good job, fantastic family, and a name tag which, in Carlaftes' case, read "Hello, I'm Peter Carlfates." Oddly, this poem is based on a TRUE incident!--Carlaftes, apparently being set up by a buddy who thought it would be funny (it was, in the poem!). But can you imagine? We all have periods of doubt in life during which we wonder about whether or not changing one decision or another would have led you in a different more socially redeeming direction. But to actually see the manisfestation of the "successful" you in the flesh? What a trip! Carlaftes made the most of the incident, getting across the shock and the post-revelation joy in tightly worded prose poetry that the crowd obviously enjoyed.

And for me, this wasn't even the ultimate highlight of the show.

That came late into the set with the rare public reading of the masterful modern day Greek tragedy "The Diner after the Bar Closes"--a series of verses inspired by classic Greek drama, retelling the story of a man in a madcap search for happiness and love in a bouquet of oddball adventures in some of the numerous 24 hour Greek diners of Manhattan. Oddly, most of the diners mentioned in the poem have now been shuttered. However, despite the societal shifts brought on by the Internet and the post 9-11 world, the search for love remains, as ever, an endlessly fascinating foible full of intrique, heartache, heroics and--occasionally--the purest form of beauty.

I left the reading feeling like the world had changed, or rather, my way of looking at it had.

And this is good.

1 comment:

Karen said...

The presses must really be rolling this week. Hope you come up for air soon.