Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Cam Stewart, Arts and Entertainment Editor
“I have no tolerance for cute,” said senior poet Kim Grabowski on Thursday evening. Along with Nick Canu and Rebecca Staudenmaier, Grabowski read a series of poems written for her SIP. All three read works were electric, profound, and challenging- anything but cute. The reading , entitled “F That Noise,” functioned as the capstone event for the poets, allowing them to share their past several months of work with the college community. While the three poets’ work did not share a common theme, they were unified in their forceful deliveries and engulfing subject matter.
Nick Canu read first from his collection entitled “The Film.” The poems hit fast and felt like the articulations of multiple frames of films. In what seemed to be a single, charged breath he revealed to the audience his eye for detail, momentarily letting us see through his lens into a field of color and image. The poem’s brief bursts of energy never overstayed their welcome and instead left those in the audience always ready for more.
Kim Grabowski’s poetry was focused on people’s constructions of a self-image, one that is more external than internal. It is self-based on interactions with other people. Her SIP, “No Lighthouse” felt very much focused on the body and the infinite strange ways people view themselves. Playing with numerous different forms and structures, Grabowski exercised her ability to work within a structured format and make it something completely her own, something complex yet freeing.
Before reading from “The Glorious Creation of Mini Cooter,” a SIP on southern Ohio drag queens, Rebecca Staudenmaier shed the long black coat she had been wearing the entire night, revealing beneath it a shimmering green dress. What made Staudenmaier’s reading so potent was her intimate treatment of her subjects. There was a strange beauty in the way she described many of the scenes the drag queens appeared in. That she spent a great deal of time interacting with the people she wrote about was evident; her characters had a familiarity to them that made their conflicts and triumphs seem honest. What was also fascinating was the behind-the-scenes look her poetry provided into the mundane intervals of a drag queen’s day.
The three poets, while all tackling disparate subjects, could be seen as united in their strength to tell compelling stories in the matter of a few lines. It was an inspiring evening–one of those nights where you go home to write a stanza or two.