Jennings / Memmer Reading at W&B

Poets Michael Jennings and Phil Memmer, two very different poets both from the Syracuse area, read to a sparse audience at Writers & Books last night. “Read” took on new meaning as Jennings, dyslexic as a child, recited his poetry while not once consulting the written page. Jennings recited work from his book Silky Thefts (Orchises Press, 2007) which features mostly autobiographical longer poems about his experiences growing up in the middle east and the U.S. Jennings “composes” his poems for the ear rather than writing them, thus making them a more natural fit for recitation.

Memmer, director of the Syracuse equivalent to W&B, the Downtown Writing Center, read from his book Lucifer: A Hagiography forthcoming in 2009. The premise of this book is based on various translations of the word used for the name Lucifer (one of which could be the name for Jesus). Memmer posits both Lucifer and Jesus as God’s children though he sees Lucifer as a “typical disaffected child,” a rebellious teen rather than devil engaged in war against God. Memmer also read from his more personal collection of poems Sweetheart, Baby, Darling (WordTech Communications, 2004).

Upcoming: William Heyen will be reading Thursday, October 2 at W&B, Charles Simic will be reading Friday, October 3 at the Downtown Writing Center. For tickets visit:


One Response to Jennings / Memmer Reading at W&B

  • Haven’t read Memmer, but Jennings’s _Silky Thefts_ is about as deeply felt a book as you will find. It is beautifully made, both lyrically and physically; the works build on each other and accrete to a tentative, guarded diminished cheer. Physically, the book is thin, almost wispy, but what volume there is in the poems.

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