Roses are red, violets are blue, and April is National Poetry Month. Aristotle thought that poetry was more valuable than history, “for poetry tends to express the universal, history the particular.” Yet it’s more difficult for poets to earn a living than historians, or as the late Robert Graves put it, “there’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.” Despite the odds, poetry goes on surviving and poets young and old continue creating and giving birth to new poems.
This weekend, two notable San Jose poets are hosting two very different events honoring the art of artful language.
Presented in collaboration with Poetry Center San Jose and Arts Council Silicon Valley, the San Jose Museum of Art holds the Second Annual Poetry Invitational on Saturday afternoon. Santa Clara County’s first poet laureate, Nils Peterson, has gathered ten local poets to read original works inspired by the current collection of art on view at the Museum. Participating poets include Len Anderson of Santa Cruz; Sally Ashton of Los Gatos (the 2011 poet laureate of Santa Clara County); Niki Escobar of Milpitas; Parthenia Hicks of Los Gatos; Persis Karim of Berkeley; David Perez of Campbell, Doren Robbins of Santa Cruz; and Vuong Vu of San Jose.
A more rambunctious poetry experience takes place Friday night at the Anno Domini Gallery. The Oversocial Mofo Revue—spearheaded by the charismatic Mike McGee, 2006 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion, and cohort David Perez—features a competitive poetry slam, spoken word by Jason Bayani, music by Billy Sheen and an “uncommon act” by John Staedler. The monthly cabaret-style show has always sold out so guests are strongly encouraged to arrive early and enjoy the music of the buskers while waiting in line. Luck also plays a role in the cover charge: admission is $5 plus the roll of a die.