Image: Poets Live Text: Emily Ruck Keene
Paris can be a city of secrets, especially for the English-speaking poetry-lover. Where do you go for live readings, open mic, or simply for performances you can understand? Little pockets of Anglophonic creative outlets are all over the city, it just takes a bit of research. And, as with everything in Paris, once the door is open, you won’t believe what you’ve been missing out on. But no matter: once you’re in, you’re in.
Poets Live, founded by the great John Kliphan, who passed away early this year, is a monthly event held at Carr’s Bar in the 1e arrondissement. Poets from around the world come to read, as the organisers describe it, “an eclectic range of English-language poetry” where the “goal is to explore the breadth of modern anglophonic poetry.” There is no entry fee, and the poets aren’t paid either. The emphasis is on a free exchange of poetry and, if the work particularly inspires you, the poets’ books are available for purchase on-site.
The next Poets Live event is tonight, April 11, from 7pm onwards, and will celebrate the publication of the internationally reknowned quarterly review, Poetry Wales. Poets Jean Portante, Zoё Skoulding, Lyndon Davies, Steven Hitchings and Rhys Trimble, featured in the current issue, will be reading from their own work.
The Welsh poetry scene offers a different face to contemporary British poetry. In a country often passed off as myth this side of the Channel (the French don’t usually distinguish between Great Britain and England, sadly), exciting explorations of music, its relationship with language and the concepts of space and place have been quietly going on these past several years to the west of England. Now the Welsh are invading, bringing with them an arsenal of cutting-edge music, art and poetry. The innovative approach of their work will provide a refreshing April shower of creativity in the French capital.
A highlight of the evening is the work of Jean Portante. Portante is an incredibly experienced, talented and intelligent writer heavily involved with promoting literature. Among many other achievements, Portante was the 2012 winner of the Benjamin Fondane Prize in Paris, as well as Luxembourg’s Batty Weber prize in 2011. He is a member of P.E.N International, founded the Académie Européenne de Poésie (the European Academy of Poetry) and is also Director of the Graphiti poetry series. His interest in language, identity and déracinement will be particularly revelatory to an audience composed predominantly of expats and travellers.
Carr’s Bar is an Irish pub and restaurant which also plays host to Moving Parts, a French- and English- language script-reading evening launched in 1996, where playwrights from around the world can hear their plays read and critiqued by actors for free. Another example of the Anglophone literary community in Paris. Like I said, once you’re in…
For more information about what’s coming up at Poets Live, check out their website at www.poets-live.com
1 Rue du Mont Thabor, 75001 Paris