Coffee, poetry give off good vibes in Top City

Tiffany Swinney

The strong aroma of coffee was not all that wafted through the air Saturday night at Lola’s Café. The words of poets Hadara Bar-Nadav and Anne Boyer also enhanced the environment of the dimly-lit establishment at the second Top City Poetry Reading.

Bar-Nadav, assistant professor of poetry at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, read several works from her collection “A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight,” including “Birds of Prey” and “Loosening the House.” The author’s main focus, however, was reading work from a new manuscript called “Architecture at the Mouth.” Boyer, an instructor at the Kansas City Art Institute, read multiple poems from her book “Good Apocalypse” but focused mainly on portions of “Joan,” her novel in the works.

According to Dennis Etzel, a lecturer in Washburn University’s English Department, the poetry reading series began as an idea between himself and friend Kevin Rabas. Etzel said approximately 35 people attended Saturday’s reading, roughly the same turnout as the first reading.

“For audience response, I think it was a mixed bag. It seemed like a few didn’t think of the poems as poems,” said Etzel. “Overall, the people I talked to liked the poets for different reasons. Hadara was great for her lyrical style and Anne for her experimental style.”

The consensus between Etzel and the authors was that students and the public can benefit a great deal from attending poetry readings.

“It is exciting to know that literature doesn’t just belong to dead people,” said Boyer. “Readings are a way of seeing ordinary people can make art.”

The next event in the Top City Poetry Reading Series will take place Thursday, March 13. This reading will feature Matt Porubsky, Tom Kennedy, Tim Volpert, Trent Lassiter and Charlotte Lassiter. All Top City Poetry Readings take place at 7:03 p.m. in Lola’s Café, located at Fleming Place, 10th Ave and Gage Blvd. Though donations are taken, each reading is free of charge and open to the public. Washburn University students and faculty are encouraged to attend.

“With every poem you write you’re joining the conversation that poetry is, so every poem is part of that conversation,” said Etzel. “And when you go to a reading you’re taking part by listening.”