Despite my previously expressed misgivings about N+1, last night did find me at KGB's for a reading sponsored by the magazine. Really there to support a friend on the line-up, I used the opportunity to analyze the hipster crowd.
The first thing I noticed was by golly, no one reads poetry. That is, I was reduced to standing in the middle of the room because the place was so packed. When I attend poetry readings at this joint, I can arrive 30 minutes late and still snag a prime place.
Wunderkind Kunkel was reading. He looks a bit like if Redford's Sundance Kid shopped at American Apparel. Scruffy, slouchy, the kind of sensitive soul who seasons his prose with poetic terms such as calendula and devises enticing similes such as the surface of the lake looked like water tilted in a pan. Admittedly nice stuff, though vaguely aggravating to a poet; that is, folks like Kunkel probably shun poetry yet feel free to co-opt it for their own purposes.
Anywho, I'd say the audience was 85% women. Lusty, downtown, thin, brunette, white women. Some in crocheted sweaters, some heading to a small Japanese bistro for sake afterward. The excerpt Kunkel read depicted the main character's forlorn and alcohol-abusing father. The words "fucked-up" featured prominently. So here's the thing. I feel like aforementioned hipster ladies can slip this au-courant reading in between shopping at Urban, dining on 6th Street, and sipping Maker's Mark at Black and White.
Could a poetry reading similarly wedge so neatly in their trend-filled schedules? Perhaps. But the thing is this: the KGB reading was a _scene_, and thus schedule-worthy. The media do not create stars from poets as they do from novelists.
Sigh. Tear. Where was that Maker's Mark....