Abe’s Penny Live opened Saturday night at Artseen in Wynwood. The month-long exhibit invites local poets (first timers welcome) to respond in verse to the work of four local photographers, including Beached Miami photo editor Robby Campbell. You can learn more about the exhibit from my interview with Anna Knoebel, who launched the Abe’s Penny micromagazine with her sister in 2009.
The opening featured readings by poets Gabrielle Calvocoressi and Denise Duhamel. Below we have Calvocoressi reading “Boxers in the Key of M” from her Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist Apocalyptic Swing (2009)
People often draw unflattering comparisons between Los Angeles and Miami. Traffic, corruption, vanity — both cities excel in all three. It is less common to hear someone cop to having a crush on the two metropolises. A poet, rarer still. But Gabrielle Calvocoressi, author of The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart (2005) and Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist Apocalyptic Swing (2009), isn’t your run-of-the-mill poetess. “I’m kind of in love with Miami,” the boxing aficionado, sports(ish) blogger, and award-winning poet told me.
In fact, she loves it so much she’s due in this weekend for the start of the O, Miami poetry festival. On Friday at Boater’s Grill, she and L.A. gallery owner Heather Taylor will host Eating Our Words, a combination of two wondrous phenomena: pork and poetry. Starting at 7 p.m., the event is a traditional Cuban pig roast with readings by poet Tracy K. Smith. Then, on Saturday, Calvocoressi and FIU professor-poet Denise Duhamel will do readings at the Abe’s Penny Live opening at ArtSeen Gallery in Wynwood. That event also starts at 7 p.m. and features photographs by Beached Miami’s own Robby Campbell. (Learn more about both events on omiami.org.)
I recently spoke to Calvocoressi about the “beautiful mess” that is Los Angeles, self-discovery as an erotic act, and what songs are making it onto her LAX to MIA playlist.
In an interview, you called Los Angeles a “poet’s paradise”. Why is that?
GC: Los Angeles is a city that continues to surprise me everyday. I think there’s a lot of similarities between Los Angeles and Miami. Both are cities that are constantly surprising. They’re truly international cities, and in that way they’re truly American cities because there are so many different people making this beautiful mess and in the midst of it making beautiful art. A lot of people have the wrong impression that there isn’t a real artistic and intellectual life in L.A. That’s absolutely not true. One of the things that I love — and I think this is true of Miami — is that there’s a sense that anything is possible and that you can dream in this incredible way. So in L.A., the one thing I found as an artist is that things like poetry and food and film and comics — all of this stuff can live together in an exciting way. I think it has something to do with the movie industry.
You can view the rest of this interview on Beached Miami, where it originally appeared on March 28.
In the age of cloud computing and lightning-fast communication, Abe’s Penny offers the humble postcard. Every week, the Brooklyn-based publishing house sends its subscribers one with a photograph on one side and a snippet of text on the other. (A different photographer and writer collaborate each month.) Off-set printed on double-thick matte cardstock, four postcards make up an edition of the Abe’s Penny micro-magazine, which sisters Tess and Anna Knoebel launched in 2009.
While contemporary culture is lousy with hollow retroism (think Hipstamatic), this is no gimmick. By boiling down the magazine to its essentials, Abe’s Penny’s invites subscribers to contemplate the content of the postcard — a single image, a single piece of text — on a deeper level than they might a traditional, bloated mag. In the process, they often come to cherish the object itself.
“It’s nice in the middle of the week when they receive this tiny little bit of art and literature that can — I don’t know if it brightens up their day, but it definitely adds something to the experience of the day,” says Anna Knoebel, who I spoke to by phone on Tuesday.
You can view the rest of this post on Beached Miami, where it originally appeared on March 16.