Stories and Memories: A Review of Poetry & Art at SDAI

Flyer for the event

Poetry & Art’s events are perfect for lovers of converging arts. Poems and stories are shared aloud to a backdrop of art and music—all for $5. On November 5 the latest Poetry & Art event took place: The Book of Books by Jimmy Jazz. A book about every book that Jazz has read, and the influence they’ve had on his life and writing. What better way to present this work aloud than through friends? This is just what happened as his writer friends came on stage (really just a section of the room where all the chairs faced) to read from the book.


It was a full house (or should I say gallery) with people from all walks of life enjoying the art and free refreshments. The exhibitions “The Haunted Art of T. Jefferson Carey” and “The Dead Are Not Quiet: A Group Exhibition of Macabre Art” set a post-Halloween mood, adding a ghostly vibe. People walked around, taking in the art and snapping pictures before the event was set to start. In the background, DJ Gill Sotu spun tunes to the lively crowd—overall the setting and vibe were great. At the San Diego Art Institute multiple forms of art were set to collide.

The night began with each of them reading their own personal work, ranging from sections of their memoirs to poetry. The featured readings came from a variety of local (Los Angeles and San Diego) writers and poets: Michael Klam, Steve Abee, Kimberly Dark, Rich Ferguson, Shawna Kenney, minerva, Gill Sotu, and Ted Washington. There was no set theme, each reading had a different flavor but they all managed to blend well with each other. Some were humorous while others were thought provoking, many a combination of both. This initial reading gave the audience a taste of each featured writer and provided a buildup to the main readings from The Book of Books.

Next was the main event and everyone who read aloud from the book was included in it. In fact, all of them had influenced Jazz in some way. The concept of the book certainly is unique, but the experience of hearing it aloud is something else. It is one thing to read about someone’s influences, it’s another thing to hear it read aloud (sometimes by the influencer themselves). The excerpts ranged from books Jazz read in middle school to interviews he did with punk musicians. Many of the readings were humorous, the audience laughing at old memories, including why Jazz and others there can’t go back to SDSU (not for being naked, but for spray painting). The event made you think about all the books and writings that have influenced you, maybe some that you didn’t even realize have influenced you. Overall, the readings were a success.


The night didn’t end there, however. Following the readings was the People’s Choice Poem Performance, where the Facebook event page states “anything goes”. Anything really did go as a variety of audience members went on stage to perform their pieces. As you could expect, each one was wildly different from the others, but any fans of open mic performances would have loved this. Once this concluded, the audience got to choose the winners, who received $50 in cash.

I can’t promise you that the next Poetry & Art event will be the same, but I can assure you that it is a great time. It is definitely something that you don’t want to miss. Poetry & Art hosts events monthly, but November was the last event of the year. You won’t want to miss the next one in January 2017.

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