NewHive hosts an intriguing first Trans Planet Online Reading

Poets aren't always known for being the most comfortable in front of crowds. Most poetry readings tend to be very personal and sometimes the stage and audience are not always ideal for poets to share their work. Poets prefer intimate settings where they will be listened to and heard; small venues are the best.

NewHive, a DIY self-publishing tool, helped to host the first Trans Planet Online Reading on Sunday night. The beauty of the online platform for a poetry reading is that it creates a venue where poets can interact with an audience from their own spaces.

Most of the poets broadcast in to the live-streamed Google hangout from the comfort of their bedrooms, and it is assumed most viewers do as well. 

The cast of readers for the event included Sarah June Woods, Manuel Arturo Abreu, Jos Charles, Loma, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Die Dragonetti and Jamie Berrout. Some of the poets have recently traveled the West Coast on a poetry tour, including a stop in a Tempe living room hosted by local collective N├╝ Dek.

The event started out hazy, as organizers experienced technical problems setting up the stream through YouTube's streaming service. Once off the ground, there were a few cuts and breaks in the stream early on in the reading, but for the most part, these were handled very well and the performances were mostly clear and comprehensible.

The first performer was Sara June Woods, who streamed in from the bathroom of a gay bar in Toronto. She recited two poems, both titled after the locale of "Seawitch," a word which featured prominently in both poems as a kind of touchstone. 

Going second was Santo Domingo-born poet and artist Manuel Arturo Abreu. Abreu's poetry is sometimes light in nature, as seen in their poem about Jonathan Franzen. The poems they read for the online reading were more serious in tone. For anyone interested I suggest tuning in about eight minutes into the archived footage as their poems are worth checking out.

Third to perform was Jos Charles, who resides in Tucson. Charles is the founding editor of the trans literary journal, "THEM." Charles performed a few newly written poems. Like always, Charles' work is impressive and their voice is one of the most intriguing to come from the Trans Planet scene.

After a second reading by Sarah June Woods, which was intended for anyone who may have missed the first few minutes of the reading, next to perform was Joshua Jennifer Espinoza who gave a reading of her poem "I Dream of Horses Eating Cocks" which was not as vulgar as the name may imply.

Christopher "Loma" Soto, a queer punk poet performed after Espinoza. Loma currently resides in Brooklyn and edits the journal "Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color." Loma is another poet to watch as their poems reveal a care and precision toward the art of writing that is immediately more seizing than some of the other readers.

After a reading by Trans Planet curator Die Dragonetti, Jamie Berrout performed four poems to round off the reading. Her poems ranged in tone and subject from the frustrated "I Scream You Scream" to the carefree "Why Not Be Lesbian Lovers." She offers her books to trans women at no cost through her blog.

Overall, the format of the showcase was intriguing and genuinely a smart idea. For those interested in the poets and their poetry, I urge them to watch the archived footage, here. No word yet on when another online reading may happen, but the idea is worth pursuing.

Related Links:

ASU unveils more gender neutral restrooms on campus

ASU struggles to spread knowledge of LGBTQ issues, resources

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