I had never been to the Bowery Poetry in New York City. Like the Nuyorican Cafe, I had only heard stories of the Bowery. However, for a poetry venue, this location proved to be a fairytale-esque place for the favorite-poet's-favorite-poet, Frank Bidart and James Franco to share their words and talents with a packed house on the evening of June 23rd.
The evening commenced with a wonderful spoken word like introduction from Bob Holman, the artistic director of Bowery Poetry. Calling Frank a "living legend" in the poet world, the sentiments were felt by nearly everyone in the audience once the poetry began.
Frank Bidart let everyone know that James would read for 15 minutes, followed by himself, followed by James, and then Frank would read again before a book signing and Q & A session.
James showed the audience the true meaning of ekphrastic poetry as he shared some of his poems from New Film Stills. These poems were in a dialogue with some interesting film stills of the actor/poet/painter Franco. The book New Film Stills which has a lovely introduction by Frank should definitely be picked up in the near future if you're a fan of film, poetry, photos, and art.
This time, it was Frank's turn to share his work. Opening up with Ava Gardner (another ode to the ekphrastic poetry theme of the evening), the crowd roared with applause. Frank and Franco were born to read poetry together.
These two poets truly blending together the meaning we as humans find in art throughout the entire night. They made the crowd cry, laugh, clap, and leave with smiles on their faces. Their poems flirted with films, photographs, and even other poems. We need more readings and collaborations such as the one that Bidart and Franco displayed. If it takes popular culture to make poetry hip again, then let's make that happen.
Thanks for a terrific evening of poetry and fun. Thanks to the Bowery for hosting such a lovely event. Thanks to poetry for making it all happen.