Old News

In January, I was invited to participate in the Triangle Quarterly reading series at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York, hosted by Anton Yakovlev. In this series, Anton strives to bring together three poets with differing aesthetics.

Adam Fitzgerald  represented the eclectic and elliptical contemporary aesthetic that is, for me, very hard to clearly define as it seems to encompass an exciting range of influences, but whose prime mover is probably the late John Ashbery.

Joel Francois represented the slam scene admirably, enjoining the respectfully quiet audience to throw away respect and vocalize their feelings as he read the poems. 

As for me, I guess I represented what’s normally referred to as “formal” verse, as many (but not all) of the poems I read were metrical.

I grow bored with these categorizations very quickly (even typing the word “metrical” makes my eyes roll involuntarily). I hope that this reading series will continue to bring together diverse voices and continue to show that the poetry world is not as fractured as it seems. A Q&A followed the reading, during which we each addressed the complex amalgam of aesthetic approaches that is contemporary American poetry.


Adam Fitzgerald, Joel Francois, Kevin Cutrer. Photo: Anton Yakovlev

My poem, “The Lesser Light,” appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of The Hudson Review earlier this year. It was then picked up by Poetry Daily.  This marks my third appearance in The Hudson Review and my first on Poetry Daily. Not that I’m keeping track of any of this…

In May, I gave a reading at The Hastings Room series at First Church, Cambridge, with Mark Pawlak (Frannie Lindsay was also on the bill, but sadly was not able to make it). The reading was superbly hosted by Mike Steffen and Steven Charles Brown. Below is a picture of me raising hell. I tend to get moved by the Spirit when I read my redneck rendering of Charles Baudelaire’s “Au Lecteur,” which I have retitled “Truckstop Chapel Testimony.”

cutrer raising hell

“…the hollering, hooting, hissing animal mass…” Photo: Steven Charles Brown

In June I read for the First Books panel at the 22nd Annual Poetry Conference at West Chester University. My fellow panelists were Austin Allen, Annie Kim, Dawn Manning, and Charlotte Innes. Their books are excellent. It was an honor to read with them.

first books panel

L-R, Quincy R. Lehr (panel moderator), Annie Kim, Kevin Cutrer, Austin Allen (Not pictured: Charlotte Innes and Dawn Manning) Photo: Luke Bauerlein

At West Chester I also participated in a panel honoring Dos Madres Press. Dos Madres, in addition to giving my first collection a home, has been putting out some very exciting titles lately. I highly recommend the late James Tolan’s Filched, which is one of the best new poetry collections I have encountered in a long time. I was honored to share my experience with working with Robert and Elizabeth Murphy on my first collection with the audience at West Chester, and to read a poem. I read “Truck Stop Chapel Testimony.” (It’s usually a crowd pleaser.)

dos madres reading

“You know you’re out of alibis.” (with Robert and Elizabeth Murphy up on the big screen) Photo: Quincy R. Lehr

That just about catches you up with the public aspect of my writing life. I love giving readings. I love performing for an audience. But the real work happens in sight of no one, quietly, draft after draft.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s