Started in 1997 by poets David Lehman and Star Black, the KGB Bar poetry series is widely recognized as the hottest and perhaps the best reading series in New York. Located in the hip East Village KGB Bar, these Monday-night readings boast a fantastic variety and quality of internationally known poets from Charles Simic, Molly Peacock, and Katha Pollit to Marie Howe, Mark Strand, and Yusef Komunyakaa.
Now Lehman and Black have gathered work from the first three seasons into a wonderful anthology. Together with a generous supply of photographs and anecdotes from contributors on the most memorable thing ever to happen to them at a poetry reading, this unique book of poems reflects the amazing variety and energy of poetry today.
The poems range in style from Douglas. Crase's "Astropastoral" ("I have seen you on every horizon, how you are stored/And encouraged and brought to the brim/Until the round bounds of one planet could not hold you in") to Anne Porter's "Five Wishes." Offering a wide window into contemporary poetry, The KGB Bar Book of Poems debunks the myth of poetry's ivory tower to reveal the kind of raw, candid reading experience that truly brings poetry to life."The pre-Russian revolutionary locale gives the gathering a committed, not to say conspiratorial air, and it somehow manages to foster a true sense of camaraderie, experimentation, and open exchange between readers and audience. I've seldom enjoyed an evening of poetry and friendship more."--Jonathan Galassi (President of The Academy of American Poets), the KGB Bar poetry series
Every Monday night, the KGB Bar's poetry readings are packed to overflowing. Pulitzer Prize winners bum cigarettes from grad students and martini glasses are refilled between readings, while the best poets in the country share their latest work with a rapt audience.
The KGB Bar is the sexiest and arguably the best venue for poetry in New York City, and now The KGB Bar Book of Poems brings this hot literary series to the page. Icons like John Ashbery and Charles Wright appear here with other favorites such as Molly Peacock and Katha Pollitt. Many of the poets have also written anecdotes about their own most memorable poetry readings.
With dynamic black-and-white photographs throughout, The KGB Bar Book of Poems reflects the dazzling variety and tremendous energy of poetry today.