Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mothing it up

Storytelling is a gift. One that I think we all appreciate in some form or another. Usually, when I want to hear a story I have to wait until I know someone well enough and they have to be in the mood and we have to use protection – it’s a real hassle. The Moth cuts through all that red tape and gives up the goods.

You may at this point be throwing your hands up in confusion – stop doing that. I know you want to know what The Moth is and I’m going to let their website tell you:

The Moth, a not-for-profit storytelling organization, was founded in New York in 1997 by poet and novelist George Dawes Green, who wanted to recreate in New York the feeling of sultry summer evenings on his native St. Simon's Island, Georgia, where he and a small circle of friends would gather to spin spellbinding tales on his friend Wanda's porch. After moving to New York, George missed the sense of connection he had felt sharing stories with his friends back home, and he decided to invite a few friends over to his New York apartment to tell and hear stories. Thus the first "Moth" evening took place in his living room. Word of these captivating story nights quickly spread, and The Moth moved to bigger venues in New York. Today, The Moth conducts eight ongoing programs and has brought more than 3,000 live stories to over 100,000 audience members.

Bingo. They don’t use notes or read from a page (just like when you tell your dear old friends a tale). Plus did you see the founder is a poet novelist, how exciting!

So what does this mean for us, the Sexy Poet Society? After all we are not the Sexy Storytellers Society, or the Sexy Moth Society, or the Sexy Shopping Society – although that last one might be nice because of the alliteration. The answer is this: we can do our own Moth style reading! interspersed with poetry of course.

I am all about trying to keep the SPS frickety fresh, and I believe that interspersing live storytelling like this or even written fiction (read in an exciting way and less than 1,000 words) could also function quite well. When we had the Adams read, they each brought their own narrative style, which was a nice contrast to the more experimental, experiential, absurdist styles of the other poets.

Regardless of if we attempt such a venture the Moth is something I want you all to know about. There is a Moth in Detroit that claims to have monthly readings; mayhap we’ll all take a visit down there one day.

I encourage you all to go to www.themoth.org and search the moth at This American Life, because they’ve cherry picked some primo Moth stories.

Check this one out (Act Two):


Another recent favorite from 11/9/2009, George Dawes Green: The Shotgun Party. Get at that one through your iTunes.

Detroit Moth Readings are on the first Thursday of each month at:

Cliff Bell's
2030 Park Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226

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