It’s raining poetry anniversaries in Portland this spring. If Not For Kidnap marked the first year of its music-meets-poetry house series at the end of April; Loggernaut followed suit with a 5th-anniversary reading in early May; the Spare Room collective, which celebrated its 100th reading in January of last year, hit eight years of steady service this March; while Tangent, a more occasional affair, crossed the 4-year line this month. Throw in the Smorg, which launched in April 2008, and that’s two decades’ worth of series packed into an 8-year interval since 2002. (So as not to produce a misleading skew of the data, I’m bracketing out the 1,001 poetry activities of the redoubtable Dan Raphael.)
Aside from revealing that Portlanders like to launch things in the spring (you’ve maybe heard it sometimes rains here), the numbers point to a hopeful uptick in local poetry capacity. Though add up their ages and they still fit cozily inside the lifespan of, say, a Small Press Traffic, which celebrated its 30th birthday in 2004 with a bill of readers all born the same year the series was. Which feeds my sense of Portland as a baby Bay Area, or a Midwest that’s fallen in with glitzy older company. Check back in 2032 for a glamour vs. House Price Index update.
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