Segue Series

Paulo Javier & Samuel R. Delaney

Saturday, May 17th the Segue Series at the Bowery Poetry Club featured two New York writers, Paulo Javier and Samuel R. Delany. Up to bat first was Javier. His opening act was a self-proclaimed “quiet manuscript” about pepperoni & Bill Murray with the noble message that romance needs comedy [oddly enough Javier’s fourth poem was the supposed “Bill Murray Poem” although the correlation here was lost to me].

Javier’s second poem was by far the most pleasurable and interesting. Quite charismatic, Javier kept up a friendly conversation with the audience throughout his reading. His introduction to his second piece explained his interest in private languages. It was an exploration of “baby talk,” taking on the quality of a sound poem. His sing-song baby talk was such an accurate imitation of a young mother huddled above her kid’s stroller, that it was too familiar to be just a sound poem. At an early age, babies have a universal language of similar sounds before they unlearn those sounds and replace them with their parents’ sounds. So maybe Javier’s poem reaches back to that place, or maybe he’s just been around too many new parents lately.

Aside form speaking in baby talk, a few of Javier’s poems melded together English and Philipino, reminiscent of Rodrigo Toscano’s English and Spanish blending. His words are endlessly strung together and to keep up with him is a challenge in itself. He seems to be a clown pulling a ribbon out his sleeve, and it keeps coming, and coming, and coming, an impossible length to be stowed up one’s shirt.

There is little to remark on Delany’s reading. His presentation was very straightforward. He read from several sections from his new novel, Dark Reflections. The story is about a black, gay poet growing up and living near Tompkins Square Park.  Delany read a simple story quite simply. Between his incessant gasping and wheezing, he put minimal effort into bringing his character’s voices alive. Delany’s book may be better suited to a text format rather than a poetry reading.


-Claire Sammons 

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