Massolit Bookstore hosts monthly poetry readings for foreigners, Poles

Famous for its fabulous atmosphere, Massolit Bookstore & Cafe welcomes not only readers from around the world into its inspiring surroundings of multilingual literature, but also people who could call themselves passionate about the play of words. A group of poets gather regularly amid the bookstore?s cozy old furnishings, appropriating the place for an hour of intimate encounter with the meticulously crafted language of artfully plaited thoughts and emotions.

The idea is simple: anyone who wishes can come and read their work. The open invitation is plainly displayed on the notice board in the hall of the bookstore; however, few new people come. As a result, a group of constant members has formed.
The familiarity helps to overcome the jitters. Spectators are always invited. As time passes, they are encouraged to actively participate in the meetings.
?I did not really write poetry before I came to Krakow, I only started writing because I came to the meetings,? says one of the members.
The poetry readings in Massolit started in 2004 with David Thornbrugh, a poet from Seattle. His original idea was to organize a group of artistically inclined people, who would gather twice a month to sing and play musical instruments.
Thornbrugh wrote at that time in a note appearing on a web site promoting poets, www.poeticdiversity.com: ?I?m an American poet now living in Poland, getting some distance from America?s Roman period and absorbing ?Old European? values, sights, and experiences. I wasn?t here in time to attend Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz?s funeral [August 14, 2004], but I have begun an open-mic venue in a great local English-language bookstore,? says Thornbrugh.
In July 2006, Thornbrugh left Krakow to teach English at Gyeongsang National University in Jinju City, Korea, a city of about 400,000 on the far south of the peninsula. After his departure, the meetings separated into two independent events. The musical part moved to Cafe Szafe, just a few steps away from Massolit, where it has developed and continues. Since Thornbrugh?s departure, several people have come and gone as coordinators of the cultural meetings. Beginning last autumn, Dr. Roy, a poet and mathematician from Canada, has overseen the Massolit poetry gatherings. Apart from being an active member, he promotes the event and sends emails to remind the members of monthly events. The poetry readings are meant to be in English, however the creativity of the authors does not allow for restrictions. Sometimes languages are blended into a single writing, adding aesthetic power. Naturally, the diversity of the lingual knowledge, cultural backgrounds and age of the writers makes for an exciting artistic experience. The sessions are greatly inspiring, boost the participants? poetic confidence and invariably offer a little feast for the soul.
Poetry readings take place every third Sunday of the month in Massolit Bookstore on ul. Felicjanek 4/2 at 19:00.

Happily Never After

At the end of the old stories
they lived happily ever after,
former frogs kissed into crowns,
sleepers rubbing red eyes
after a hundred years of dreaming.
Stunned survivors staring
at a horizon of unrelieved horror.
Time stuck on a single moment of joy
would be unendurable,
like orgasm stretched across Niagara Falls
and you forced to walk the wire forever.
Every house in the town of happy endings
is exactly the same, birthday cake bland,
pastel walls closing in like strangling laughter.

Why Riding Hood?

Here in Poland
they have the color the girl
the grandmother the bed
the oral motif the woodsman
with his axe in other words
the violence and the sex
come across the Atlantic translations
and time but why riding to modify hood
is there a horse hidden in the woods
with the wolf another barely morphed
nod to sex the cowl that covers the little man
enflamed with desire prodding the robe
and stirring up bed clothes
why riding as an adjective for what
covers a young girl?s blush
at what jumps from the bushes
why riding hood?

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