A Few Reasons Why Poetry Sounds Better in Bars


  • Jennifer Silverberg
  • Newman
1. A bar is actually the poet's natural habitat. Dylan Thomas loved bars so much, he died in one.

2. If poetry is meant to be read aloud, can we agree it sounds exponentially better shouted over a jukebox or the house band?

3. The food in bars is a hell of a lot better than most of the shit they serve you at readings in university lecture halls. (Drawback: At bars, they usually make you pay for your own food.)

4. Ditto the alcohol.

5. Poets describe things better than everyone else. Wouldn't it be great to hear a moving description of a bottle of beer and then be able to order one of your own immediately?

6. Richard Newman gives readings in bars. Newman is, of course, one of the finest, funniest poets in St. Louis. (Officially! He was certified by the RFT as Best Local Poet of 2008.) He is also the editor of River Styx. Normally he presides over the magazine's monthly reading series at Duff's, but this Thursday, October 22, at 7:30 he is moving around the corner to Dressel's Pub Above to read from his latest poetry collection, Domestic Fugues.

Re, point 5: Newman can wax poetic about beer with the best of them. For a preview, click here (Miller High Life). Or here (empty liquor bottles). Or here (no alcohol explicitly, but in a convenience-store setting, it's kind of implied). Read an interview where he explains one of his poems (Rolling Rock). Or you could just buy a copy of one of his books. The guy definitely deserves a beer.

Newman, by the way, has his own theory about how bars improve poetry: "My poetry probably sounds better in bars for the same reason that I'm much better looking in bars -- especially the dimmer the lights and the later the night."


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