Well, thanks Judih, WIREMAN and surfermike for offering your support for my reading over on the Announcement board. Turned out this coffee shop has a bigger audience for the open-mics and luck would have it, there didn't seem to be anyone there interested in poetry at all. The cafe's mainstay is accoustic rock/folk music and the audience didn't seem to have any idea about what to do with me. Every time I finished a piece there was a pause, as if they were thinking "what the hell just happened", and then sort of tentative, polite applause. It's very frustrating to have the oportunity to get up in front of an audience, read for a good twenty minutes and have no one really seem to give a damn! The only feedback I got was a man who came up to me and complimented a Beck cover I played at the last open-mic I went to, which of course was just screwing around compaired to all the poetry I read that night. It's not that I expect a packed house, either. At the open-mics, my best evenings were the ones where one or two people seemed to really appreciate what I was doing and said so, asking that I keep coming back. One woman even told me once, "my ears need to hear this". I just wish that one of those people had been there last night, because I feel a bit like Cassandra in Greek mythology.
I have this belief that with great poetry (not that I'm calling myself great, but I think I have more to say than the average open-micer at this point) can't be argued with. People will like challenging poetry, music, art, etc. if they're subjected to it, even if they never imagined they'd like it beforehand. I can't say as I'm doubting this entirely, but it just makes me worried. I have a long way to go with my work before I'll be really happy with it. I want write in an experimental way that shifts the way poetry is thought about and written in general, and although I'm closer to that than I was a few years ago there's no way of knowing how long this will take me. Now, this little voice in my head is saying, "what if I accomplish this and find a way to write in a totally new way that breaks all the boundaries of modern writing, and in the end no one listens to it?" I have my poetry collective that does periodic readings, and I am trying to get them together for a brainstorming session to talk about the next one to make myself feel a little better, but I wish there was more to do in the meantime.
There has to be more than these eight other people in town who want to be challenged! Since when did it stop being hip to be experimental?