Joel Allegretti is the featured reader on Friday, January 14th. I put a nice long bio blurb on the flier, but the gist of it is, he kicks ass. He's a fine craftsman with a sense of humor, a narrative bent, a good musical ear, and a powerful performance style. Rattapallax just nominated him for the Pushcart Prize. If you're in New Jersey and you like live poetry, he's worth the chunk of your Friday night that the reading will take up. Moreover, our hosts at Cleo's Cafe make pretty good cannoli. If you have no taste for open mics, nobody will blame you for fleeing after the featured reader, but it'll be your loss. You know how typical poetry open mics are, with a crowd of exhibitionists who come to perform and forget to listen? (Maybe you've never seen it, but it's easy enough to imagine.) I'm delighted to say that the open mic at my series isn't like that--though I have no idea why. Somehow, over the past two years, I've lucked into, or cultivated, or something, a thoughtful, talented crowd of regulars who come primarily to listen. Rare and unaccountable good fortune.
Forgive me if I boast about some of the other poets who've come to perform at Cleo's. We've had Joshua Corey, Sherry Fairchok, Sina Queyras, Joe Weil, and Alicia Ostriker. Google them. Read them. Buy their books. There have been plenty of other readers, too, all delightful, but it's after 4 a.m., and even owls sleep sometime.
Cleo's Cafe hosts the poetry reading series on the second Friday of every month at 8pm, with a featured reader followed by an open mic.
68 Raritan Avenue (Route 27)
Highland Park, NJ