By Emily Pooley
The Magee Park Poets is a group of poets based in the Carlsbad Area. They host writing workshops and poetry readings monthly. At their end of the year poetry reading on December 2nd, they hosted Poetry International’s managing editor and poet Jennifer Minniti-Shippey and a few of Poetry International’s MFA students.
Poetry International (PI) is a literary magazine founded in 1997 and published through San Diego State University. Poetry International publishes an annual poetry journal, and each issue features poems and translations from around the world. The book review section includes over 50 pages of carefully considered poetry collections published in the previous year.
I had never been to a poetry reading before, but I am very glad I was able to attend this one. The MFA students chose works from the current PI issue to read, and also poems from some of the projects that they worked on such as Poetic Youth. Poetic Youth is a nonprofit organization that connects with youth in the San Diego Area by providing free poetry and writing workshops to underserved youth communities. The purpose of Poetic Youth is to address the issue of unequal access to the arts. The MFA students also read poetry that they had written themselves.
It was really beautiful to see so many poets come together and share their own style in the same venue. After the MFA students read, Jennifer Minniti-Shippey read a selection from Poetry International as well, and then read a few poems of her own. Her chapbook, Done Dating Djs, won the 2009 Fool for Poetry Chapbook competition presented by the Munster Literature Centre of Cork, Ireland. Her most recent chapbook, Earth’s Horses & Boys was published by Finishing Line Press in March 2013. Her work has appeared in Tar River Poetry, Jackson Hole Review, In Posse Review, San Diego Poetry Annual, and the San Diego Union-Tribune, among others. Minniti-Shippey had such a dynamic reading presence and wonderful appreciation for poetry.
After her reading, the floor was opened for an open mic portion. The audience members who chose to speak were both regulars of these events and new poetry writers. They all did a wonderful job, and I am glad that they felt moved to share their poetry with us. After the open mic concluded they hosted a reception, and everyone was able to mingle and talk about the readings that night. That was very insightful for me, as I got to hear people’s stories behind their poetry and how they became connected to the Magee Park Poets.
For more information on when their next event will be, visit the Carlsbad City Library event page.