Becoming a Disney princess in “Havahd Yahd”

The beautiful thing about Boston is that it’s a city with 20th century innovations, circulated by urban veins, filled with the latest trends, fueled by technological advancements, and yet has somehow held on to it’s old soul. Boston is very unique from other cities around the United States, and a majority of the reason comes from the fact that Boston holds the key to American roots.

“Pahk the Cah in Havahd Yahd.” Arguably one of the more popular phrases that gets tossed around with us Bostonians. It’s our stereotypical calling. Technically, Harvard is in the city of Cambridge, but nevertheless, tourists and locals claim it as our own.

This week, I went to explore Harvard Square as part of a project for my personal blog, ” A Cup of T”. Around the evening, fueled with a sugar high from Zinneken’s  Belgian waffles, my friends and I decided to get lost in Harvard’s book store.

 

Front of store

 

The first thing I noticed while walking into the book store, was the amount of ladders the store had on several shelves. (Yes, tall, wooden ladders, that were in absolute perfect condition.) In my lifetime, I hadn’t ever come across a bookstore that included traditional ladders, like the ones you’d see in movies like Beauty and the Beast. I couldn’t resist the urge to climb one for no apparent reason, and ran my fingers across the spines of the books that were touched far less than all the others. The store was buzzing with people from all over the world. There was a couple flipping through cuisine books and a hunched over old man grumbling his way through clusters of people, and a man reading a children’s book to his son in French. It made me feel like a 20th century Belle, up there on the ladder. Harvard’s book store is such a small space with so much room for the diverse population of tourists, locals, authors and one particular resident, Paige.

 

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Paige is Harvard’s espresso book machine. If something could look like it belonged in both history and the future, it would be Paige. After interviewing some of the employees at the information center, I discovered that Paige can produce an acid-free paperback books in nearly four minutes. Customers could print existing pieces from the internet, or even create their very own books!

 

 

Paige presents many benefits to authors who choose to custom print at the Harvard Book Store. Books are “library-quality, perfect bound, acid-free paperbacks, indistinguishable from books produced by major publishing houses.” Authors can avoid the expensive investments that are sometimes required by self publishing programs. Authors also experience the benefit of owning total rights to their printed work, including the layout, design, the price of the book, and even the option to display it at the Harvard Book Store. For information regarding book pricing and the simple submission guidelines, go to http://www.harvard.com/bookmachine. Paige can also print books that are out of print, such as Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript of Alice and Wonderland, or books that are online accessible.

The Harvard Book store also sells misprinted books for $2.00, just behind their espresso book machine. I thought this was very interesting, knowingly buying a book that is indeed one of a kind, special, and of course, cheap!

 

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Right next to Paige, is a staircase that leads to Harvard’s Used Book Department. There are thousands of used books, comics and magazines all placed at a lower price. The Used Book Department is plastered with antique stickers, news clippings, baseball cards and book covers on the poles and shelves. I spent a good 20 minutes looking through all of the in-store collages.

 

 

Tourists, locals, authors, non-authors, students and beautifully curious people should come and take advantage at what the Harvard Book Store has to offer. It’s an inexpensive way to explore unique works of literature, pick up a misprinted book, or learn something new. It’s a new an exciting way to get up close and personal with the literature we love.

 

By Jade Cruz

 

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Breakwater Reading Series

The excitement was obvious in the small basement of Brookline Booksmith. In several small rows of two or three or five chairs, the people were talking intently before the readings began. The Breakwater Reading Series features works of MFA candidates at universities and colleges all around Boston. Students hail from Boston University, Emerson College, and University of Massachusetts- Boston, although the IMG_8434.JPGaudience ranges from children to the elderly. Readings are held at 7pm every third Friday of the month at Brookline Booksmith.

The first reader of the night was A.J. Odasso from Boston University. She has been featured in a number of publications as well as several nominations for awards such as the 2010 London New Poetry Award and the 2011 Forward Prize to name some. Odasso read two older poems as well as four new ones, two of which had three parts. With a more serious tone, this young poet set the expectations high for those to come next.

Fulfilling these expectations was the next author, Juliana Kruis as she read from her memoir Good Pity. The Emerson student told part of the story of her childhood, her mothers gambling addiction and her fathers abuse and forced absence as he was in the air force, from the perspective of her as a child. Kruis captured the room by allowing her work to speak for itself with striking lines like when her mother told her “I just want to lay here and die”, and the nostalgia seemed filled with anger over the lost childhood.

Lightening the mood of the room, Dean Shaban delivered an opening poem by Shel Silverstein and quotes from Mitch Hedberg. Shaban read seven of his own poems, one of which was a found poem, a poem that is created by combining the words of others into something new. Shaban also discussed his love for children’s poetry and books but reading two chapters from the children’s book he is writing. Shaban was able to keep the room laughing and thoroughly enjoying work meant for children, a task not everyone is able to accomplish.

Following Shaban was Ryan Kim, a MFA candidate from UMass Boston. Kim was able to create an environment in which the audience laughed, related, pitied, and hung onto his words as he read his story Unsticking. The story told his adventures with his girlfriend, Mary, and how it becomes more and more difficult to leave someone the longer you are together, despite any betrayals. Kim was able to make us burst out laughing with lines like “that is so middle class”, a direct quote from a girl he was trying to seduce. In the next paragraph Kim was able to make the audience audibly call out “aw” as he discussed the struggles of long term relationships.

The final reader of the night was Lori Zimmerman also an MFA candidate at UMass Boston. Zimmerman read two series of poems. The first consisted of four pomes describing bad homes, the most relatable of which was when she described the bed. Her second series of two poems was apart of her thesis. Zimmerman was able to continue the humor and the seriousness of the previous authors.

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As the readings finished, all those present were invited to drinks down the street, however not being 21 quite yet, I opted to explore the independent bookstore. I must admit I have fallen in love with Brookline Booksmith. The twinkle lights hanging from the ceiling, the wide collection of books, and the sliding ladders on the walls, created an amazing environment. The wide range of books and merchandise offered, and the amazing pieces of poetry and prose read ensured my return for the next Breakwater event on March 25th.

Find out more about Breakwater’s upcoming evens by liking their Facebook page or visiting their website.

By Heather Marshall

Hi Peter

“Hi, I’m Peter and I’m an addict.” Doctor Peter Grinspoon, Harvard Grad, physician, and author of “Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction” introduced himself to his audience at Thursday, February 18, 2016’s book reading hosted by the Boston Public Library.

Walking into the library I approached an older, English librarian and asked about the whereabouts of the book reading. She gave me instructions and I was on my way. I walked through a small corridor and past the open atrium area and proceeded into the next building. Entering the first door to my right, per the instructions of the librarian, I entered a warm and inviting room. Sky-high ceilings with large, simple chandeliers lighting the length of the room created an open and comfortable setting. I chose a seat and waited for the event to begin. People were filing in and easily filled a majority of the room. I heard murmurs and discussion throughout the room and observed as Dr. Grinspoon and members of his family spoke with friends and fans alike until 6:00 when the event was to begin.IMG_0264

At 6:00 all attendees were seated. Grinspoon’s family, wife and children included, were front and center showing immense support for their accomplished and beloved family member. Dr. Grinspoon introduced himself as an addict, a still admittedly difficult statement to make after 9 years clean, although he has been struggling with his opiate addiction for 15 years.

The readings came in three parts and began with the introduction to how Grinspoon had to face his addiction head on. He was not given much choice to get clean, one day having been surprisingly greeted by a Boston Police officer and a DEA agent in his office. Grinspoon was facing three felony counts of writing fraudulent prescriptions. After reading and giving the audience a taste of his gripping narrative chronicling the events that occurred once being caught, Grinspoon started discussing the opiate epidemic.

The opiate epidemic has lead to the heroin epidemic that is sweeping the nation. What was once thought to be an inner city problem has made its way into middle class and upper middle class areas and regions. Doctors nationwide are encouraged by pharmaceutical companies to prescribe opiates to patients. The euphoric effects of these drugs is a feeling that many people end up attempting to chase. Opiates change to the cheaper drug heroin and has evolved these addictions to an epidemic of drug use and overdosing. Overdosing causes an average of 100 deaths per day in America and kills more people than car crashes. Shocking statistics such as the fact that 9% of the general population have serious addictions to drugs and alcohol is unfortunate to think about, however an astonishing fact is that 15% of physicians suffer from addictions with drugs and alcohol. The ease of access and unlimited refills that physicians can grant themselves to opiates combined with the stress of a job like this greatly increases their susceptibility to addiction. Grinspoon provides a call to action and asks how we can fix this epidemic. He noted three main components that worked to create this epidemic.

  • The way pharmaceutical companies advertise their products. Pharmaceutical companies work for profits and often minimize the addictive components to opiate use.
  • Doctors mindlessly went along with this. They acted as sheep and were complacent in prescribing these drugs to patients.
  • The “War on Drugs” treats addicts as criminals rather than as people who have developed legitimate problems.
    • There is no other disease in the world where they punish you instead of treating you.

In the second passage that Grinspoon read from, he details his struggle with denial. Even in his Q&A session as part of one of his responses, Grinspoon made the age old, however classic “dad joke” that “Denial is not just a river in Egypt.” At the beginning of his addiction, he believed he had nothing in common with the addict patients that he was treating who came in due to drug and alcohol related issues. Dissociating from these people made it that much more difficult to eventually get the help that he needed.

The discussion following the reading of this passage touched upon the pitfalls of helping physicians who develop addictions such as the one that Dr. Grinspoon lives with. Doctors work tirelessly for years and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their educations. The fear of losing their licenses is a massive deterrent for those with addictions to reach out for help. Grinspoon makes several good points regarding this, stating that there should be less punitive responses in the future to help get these doctors into the recovery programs that they so desperately need. These doctors have a lot to lose and once they are in the recovery process their is an astonishing 75-80% recovery rate. The issue here is getting them to the help that they need.

Grinspoon’s third passage introduced his 90 days in rehab. Although putting up a strong fight against it, his only other option was to face his charges. So, a disheveled Dr. Grinspoon arrived at a rehab facility in Virginia, scruffy in appearance and an inside-out shirt seemed to sum up his state upon arrival.  He first noted seeing fellow patients outside smoking and described them as resembling a “gang of naughty teenagers.” This, a seemingly stark difference to the fellow patients he described as “inmates” that he encountered at the first rehabilitation facility he went to. Grinspoon was searched upon arrival, starting with a search of himself, then his bag, then his car which was parked outside. After a thorough search, a stash of over-the-counter medications were found in his trunk. The nurse who found them gave him a look I’m sure she has doled out thousands of times. Grinspoon was put through facing the stigma that addicts and physicians that fell off of their pedestals face.

Concluding his discussions, Dr. Grinspoon made a few statements that he has learned. He left the audience with these takeaways:

  • Doctors in recovery tend to be excellent doctors.
  • Opiate addiction is not a death sentence. With a good support system recovery can be made possible.
  • We have to make treatment less punitive so people can get the help they actually need to recover.
  • In order to work on resolving this epidemic, an important step will be de-stigmatizing the disease of addiction.

This book reading was a pleasure to attend and was informational. Having the fist hand perspective of a physician who is a recovering addict, this novel effectively tells a story that is all too often hidden or shoved into a corner as the taboo and stigma casts a shadow over the issue. This novel instills insight into its readers and acts as a vehicle in which change may be affected and works to tear down the stigmas associated with addiction through the telling of one doctor’s story.

By Alexis Maltes

Lava

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On Wednesday, February 3rd, I had the opportunity to listen to and meet an incredible individual – Nick Flynn. Nick is a memoirist and poet of the highly popular and award winning memoirs Another Bullshit Night In Suck City (2004), Being Flynn (2005), The Ticking is the Bomb (2010), and The Reenactments (2013), alongside books such as Some Ether (2000), My Feelings (2015) and more.

Nick was raised in the nearby town of Scituate, Massachusetts. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, followed by a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. After this, Nick pursued his masters degree in Fine Arts from New York University. Apart from Nick’s impressive educational background, he is also the winner of multiple awards and fellowships including the The Guggenheim Foundation, PEN, Columbia University’s Writing Project, and The Library of Congress.

I will be the first to admit that I have not yet read a single one of Nick’s memoirs or books in full, nor did I know who he was before learning of him in Literary Citizenship from our guest speaker, Fred Marchant. However, through Fred Marchant’s words describing Nick as a person, and his story, I was intrigued beyond measures in learning more about Nick and his experiences.

From my research, I gathered that he is not only a successful memoirist and poet from Massachusetts’ South Shore, but he is an outstanding and inspiring individual who has overcome an immense amount of hardship in his lifetime. In short, Nick’s father was mostly absent from his life. In his early twenties, while working in a homeless shelter in Boston, he encountered his father for the first time in over a decade, when his father came in for a bed – homeless. His mother, who raised Nick, committed suicide shortly after finding and reading what was an unfinished piece of Nick’s writing. Nick has overcome adversities associated with alcoholism, addiction, depression and more. But yet, he still manages to create beautiful and captivating pieces of writing – and he still manages to be an incredibly humble and down to earth individual. I know this because I met Nick, and I had a short but powerful conversation that led him to ask me to email him, and I’m waiting for my reply.

 

               NICK FLYNN

[Another Bullshit Night In Suck City – signed, “-Jennifer- (Guaranteed) Nick Flynn 2016. Feb. Boston!”]

Nick Flynn Visits Suffolk:

At 3pm on Wednesday the 3rd, I walked into an empty room in the Sawyer library of Suffolk University that I had never been in. It was a lovely little room; chairs aligned, beautifully carpeted floors, wooden doors, and colorful books straightened along a series of bookshelves in the back.

Familiar face, Fred Marchant took to the front of the room, his Poetry Center, to introduce Nick Flynn to the eager and diverse audience present. He introduced Nick as an old friend – a humorous, and talented individual who he had the pleasure of knowing for many years. After a few jokes and laughs, Marchant delved deeper into his introduction when he expressed that Nick has endured, in Marchant’s own words, “Unequivocal human catastrophes; alcoholism, addiction, homelessness, his mother’s suicide.” while going on to quote the great Roman aphorism and relating it back to Nick’s experiences, “Nothing human is alien to me,” This phrase now echoes in the back of my mind, as I’m sure it does for others present as well. He concluded his introduction of Nick with, “But Nick is not alone, we’re with him, he’s with us … So, welcome Nick.”

Nick brought with him a presence that was nothing short of casual, but captivating. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what I received was different than I had imagined. He was a tall caucasian man, with five o’clock shadow (or three o’clock, rather), wearing a dark grey t-shirt and jeans. His hair was not well-kept but lose and natural. What I remember the most vividly about Nick’s appearance however, was his eyes. He had glossy blue eyes that seemed to reflect his experiences with nothing more than the way he looked at you, if that makes any sense. It’s as if, you were communicating emotion with nothing more than that eye contact, in that moment, when Nick was through reading a piece of his work. When individuals across the room would ask questions of Nick after he was through reading a piece, he seemed to have two responses – both of which filled with dry humor, I must add. If the question was on the simpler side, he would not break eye contact until the individual concluded their question, only to briefly look up, as if calculating his response, and then look back to that individual to answer. If the question, however, was deeper and required (in my own opinion), a more elaborate answer – I found that he would not look away for the entire interaction, almost as if he was responding not only through language, but with his whole self.

“Hello… I lived here a long time, until I escaped…haha.” Being immediately confronted with Nick’s sense of humor, I found similarities between my own personality and his.

As the reading unfolded, one piece uttered by Nick froze my fingers on my keyboard as I was taking notes. It left me with the following broken dialogue;

“It’s called Lava. A friend tells this perhaps apocryphal story …. while living in Hawaii a volcano erupted… it erupted so slowly that you could walk up to the wall of it, put your hand out and feel its warmth… the town my friend was staying in was spared the initial blast, but the lava kept coming… which house would be first to be swallowed up by the slow motion wave… some argued it was better than a flood or fire… lava gives you time to move out… you hoped it would slow down, hoped it would run out of juice, hope it would simply stop …. ”

I’m going to assume that it left listeners with the same chill as it did for me.

Then casually, without hesitation Nick went on. I emphasis his ability to be casual when discussing and reading his materials, because I think it adds a strong dynamic to Nick’s presence. His ability to use compartmentalization as a psychological tool when writing about his life (a question I asked him in which he humorously responded, he was working on with his therapist), helps to craft the carefully calculated and beautiful selections he shared with us – and all of his writings in general.

Now, keep in mind, I still have not read his books. I am basing my opinion of Nick solely off of my interactions with him on the third of February. But even so, Nick had a presence that was especially influential to me. That’s the magic of Nick Flynn – he influences people without explicitly wanting to, he does not view himself as special or unique – he is humble and full of humor, he is real. Nick is not at all self-absorbed or looking for acceptance – but rather, using writing as a tool to meditate and reflect on his own life.

I purchased Nick’s memoir, Another Bullshit Night In Suck City (2004), at the end of his afternoon reading. I made sure to stand at the back of the line, so I would be the last to introduce myself. Nick signed my book and we had our conversation. I expressed to Nick that I would not be able to attend his poetry reading later that night in Walsh Theatre because I had work, and we concluded our short interaction with a handshake and a smile.

When I got to work that night, I excitedly showed my signed book to my shift manager and explained to her my day. It was much to my surprise when she expressed her love for Nick’s work – and then told me to leave because I was doing a disservice to myself in not going to his Poetry reading in order to pour coffee at Starbucks for four hours.

At the poetry reading, I again asked the final question of the night – and Nick addressed me as Jennifer in front of the entire audience… To tell you the truth I don’t even remember my question. I just remember the way I felt while listening to his words throughout the day. His general audience is often left begging for understanding – and for those who do understand, he leaves us delving into our own minds for a deeper understanding of ourselves.

I’ll leave you with this,

“I didn’t choose this, I didn’t want to choose this … My story is not significant, I think it’s actually very common.” – Nick Flynn, February 3, 2016.

 

Jennifer Morasca

Nick Flynn Does His Thing

This past Wednesday, I anxiously strode (with a half eaten Santa Fe salad and winter coat in hand) into the fancy glass room tucked at the very back of Suffolk University’s multiple-story library. It had only been three o’clock, but eager eared spectators, some in strollers and others in sweater vests and collared shirts, had quickly begun piling into the neatly positioned rows of chairs. As three-thirty drew closer, the giddy whispers grew into enthusiastic chatter. Everyone, including my classmate and I, were curious as to where the man of the hour and fifteen minutes was. I squirmed around in my seat a bit, wondering what he would look like or how he would make his big entrance. Would he stroll in sporting khakis and loafers? An air of superiority? I mean, he’s Nick Flynn. The man’s penned and published pages on pages of praise worthy prose and metaphoric genius in the forms of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City and The Reenactments (to name a few). Hollywood’s gobbled up his life story and spit it back out in movie form for crying out loud. Not only that, but he’s also got a wiki page! Who knew what to expect?

My eyes skipped across the room, and then to the large windows toward the front of the room. I pursed my lips in an attempt to avoid a yawn. In an effort to see if I was the only one present who hadn’t slept as much as I should have the night before, I tuned into the enthusiastic chatter a bit more. Suddenly my classmate nudged my right arm, leaned over, and mumbled, “Is that him? I think that’s him.” I spun around in my chair, attempting to act as natural as possible, bumping my knee on the chair to my left in the process. A small semicircle of unfamiliar faces emerged through the tall wooden double doorway. Lagging a bit behind all of the other faces is one that is only familiar because it had popped up on my iPhone’s Google app just an hour before.
I watched as Nick Flynn (clothed in a green t-shirt and jeans), headed to the very front row of seats, opposite the section that my classmate and I are in, and after a quick introduction I watched Flynn approach the front of the room. He sipped from his thermos, preparing to address his audience.

“I was told that this was just going to be some people and a table, so I didn’t really prepare,” Flynn chuckled, ultimately deciding that he would read excerpts from his books and then answer questions. Flynn managed to get a laugh out of his audience with each question answered, especially with the more serious questions asked. When classmate raised her hand and inquired, “Have you always been writing? Did you always use that as a way to get your feelings out?” He paused and joked back, “Uh..I’m trying to think of something funny to say about that!” Flynn shortly after answered, stating that he had taken to writing for as long as he could remember, and that he wrote to “settle the chaos” in his mind. Inspired by my classmate’s bravery I too raised a shaky hand, stuttering a bit I asked Mr. Flynn what he did to prepare himself to lay all of that chaos out on paper. He replied, “Every project has different needs, but mediation I’d say definitely helps to clear out the chaos in the brain.”

As the evening progressed, more hands went up, more laughs were let out, and more excerpts were read. It most definitely became apparent that Suffolk enjoyed Flynn’s company, seeing that many lingered even after his closing remarks.

-Janaye Kerr

Nick Flynn Read Excerpts From His New Book of Poetry: “My Feelings” By Jenna Palumbo

Laid-back confidence.  If I had to briefly describe Nick Flynn’s reading of his newest book of poetry “My Feelings,” laid-back confidence would be the first phrase that came to my mind.  Flynn leaned against the podium during the reading like it was an old friend, completely comfortable and content. This comfort and calm emanated from him and spread throughout the audience. Although Flynn was sharing his deepest thoughts and feelings, the atmosphere remained at ease and intrigued.  Flynn seemed so familiar with the selected poems he read that the words smoothly drifted off the pages and into everybody in the crowd’s imaginations.

Walsh Theater was stifling warm and occupied by poetry enthusiasts on Wednesday, February 3rd at 7:00.  I observed old friends catching up with one another from the back of the theater, handshakes and hugs were sprinkled all around. When Flynn made his way on stage, acquaintances parted so they could take their seats and a hush fell over the theater. After a few clicks a short film appeared on the screen. It was of a helicopter in flight over a desolate field with a voice over of Flynn reading one of his poems.  There was complete silence except for the buzzing of the helicopter on the screen and the intensity of Flynn’s words as he tried to justify and understand his mother’s suicide through a poem.  Flynn made his way back to the stage when the film finished to an awed crowd.  He explained how the film was a collaboration with a friend and then quickly opened his copy of “My Feelings” and began flipping through the pages.

As I watched Flynn flip through the pages, randomly stopping at a poem here or a poem there, I was unsure whether he had previously planned out which ones he wanted to read or was just “going with the flow.”  This relaxed, stress-free vibe, reflected Flynn perfectly to me.  He read a selection of six poems and had an image to represent each one.  The poems were very personal like, “The Day Lou Reed Died,” which compared Reed to his estranged father and explained how he hardly knew either of them and “My Feelings,” which gave an in depth look at how he felt at the exact moment he wrote the poem.  One special poem was based off of a drawing his daughter had created and reflected on his journey with fatherhood.  My favorite poem however, was one he wrote for his friends’ wedding.  The way he depicted soul mates with the poem left me with a resounding hope and longing for love.  At the beginning of the poem he was dark and pessimistic, comparing marriage to nature and how nothing is supposed to last, how love will die along with the leaves in the winter.  But, at the end of the poem with the last few lines, Flynn explained that one morning you will realize you are laying in bed with your soul mate and you will question how you woke up all the other mornings without them.

At the conclusion of the reading there was a short Q&A between Flynn and the audience.  One thing stuck out to me during this session; each person that asked Flynn a question included a personal interpretation.  Flynn would think and then say he liked the way they viewed a certain aspect of his poems before going on with a response to their question.  Poetry had always scared me because I never thought I could quite grasp what the author of the poem was trying to say but by the end of the reading I was hit with a realization.  I was not supposed to find the meaning, just a meaning and it took Nick Flynn pondering over the audience’s views and questions for me to see that.

A Void is Unavoidable

By: Heba Munir

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On Wednesday February Third at 7 PM I had the pleasure of witnessing a poetry reading done by Nick Flynn, author of three memoirs including Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, The Ticking Is the Bomb, and The Reenactments, and alongside these memoirs he has had several published books. Fred Marchant proceeded on stage to introduce this exquisite poet, and unfortunately what was running through my mind was that I hoped that this reading would not run late. By the end of the night I was hoping that the recitation of poetry would never end.

Flynn is influential in his presence alone. On stage a middle-aged, tall Caucasian man with a five o’clock shadow, and unkempt hair casually walked on stage after one of his poems was recited as a backdrop to an ominous film of a helicopter in the air. Repeating within my membrane as he proceeded on stage was a stanza from his poem that lamented about how, “This house you grew out of, you grew up inside it”. It was powerful, and you could hear the disappointment in his voice as he uttered those words. He had a way of transferring the suffering that he went through, and letting it leak throughout the listener’s mind. The aura he gave off left the listener pondering what exactly did this poor poet go through.

Dread overwhelmed me as Flynn transported me to a distant moment within his memory bank. That’s the beauty of his poetry: apprehension, fear, angst, uneasiness, and anxiety inclined me to reflect on my own life as he poured out his own. This overall experience was life changing. His voice was not monotonous; however, it was empty if that makes any sense. This  video will help you, as the reader, grasp what I mean when I discuss his overall presentation as he recites. If a voice can be empty, than that was his voice. More probable than not Flynn himself could attest to the fact that his tone while performing was not purposeful, but just the way he sounds. The way he presented conveyed a message beyond a passage an individual could find in a textbook. He had a way of both soothing the audience whilst simultaneously inclining them to think and reflect constantly. Flynn simply had a way with words, and his crude yet dry humor added a lot to his performance.

His performance itself was an art. He used a range of media on collaborations with diverse artists including photographers such as Misha Grifter, painters, and videographers to both keep the audience engaged and set a certain mood to his pieces of poetry. The grim tone he sets is comparable to Tim Burton, and Burton’s artistry as a director. Certain patterns that one caught through his poetry was this listing of words which emphasized the pathos within the respected piece, but the listing was not as simple as it seems. For the listener the lists seemed both jumbled, and as if the emotions that he was going through did not fully make sense. At the end of the day it seems as if through his suffering, some of his questions were still left unanswered. That is what I took away from this poetry reading. At the end of the day one simply needs to find acceptance in the reality that some voids will be left as voids, and some questions will be left unanswered.

Comment below on how experiences have influenced you!

To learn more information about Flynn’s books, upcoming events, and interviews go to Nick Flynn’s official website:

nickflynn.org