“Papa John” Kolstad worked to arrange at least one more Midstream poetry reading event tonight, as a remembrance and continuance of the series run for the past six years by David Shove who died at the turn of this year.
I know this blog has a good number of Twin Cities Minnesota readers, but even locally the Midstream series was a less-known-than-it-should-be thing. Best as I can tell, three things made it special: David Shove himself, who had a beautiful offhand way* of presenting a wide-ranging group of poets and writers; the space itself, a large second floor room full of clutter that says unpretentious and informal;** and the upper-Midwest kind of poets, who have a tendency to community feeling, a sense that they, their poetry, and their readers/listeners are all in this together.
Community Feeling. Some of the folks gathered to remember David Shove tonight in Minneapolis
Therefore, even though the event occurred with the palpable absence of David Shove, it still felt part of the series—and not just because absence is a kind of presence. As it sometimes does, the reading opened with some music—tonight, Kolstad on guitar and Richard Terrill on saxes performing some jazz as folks wandered into the room from the trench warfare of our most recent eight-inch snowfall. Then sixteen people with various connections to David and the Midstream series spoke of him, often concluding with a short poem.
I was one of those, perhaps the one who knew David less than any of the others. I only knew him from the reading series, but that was still a something. Yes it was. I did an off-the-cuff reading of the Wallace Stevens’ poem “To the Roaring Wind” that I had posted in a musical performance here last month when I first heard of Shore’s death.
Here’s a player gadget to allow you to easily hear that performance of “To the Roaring Wind” from January.
*Shove as a presenter had a slow, dry way of speaking that the first time you saw him you might not think much of it. Then the next time you’d notice the method of it, and the third time, the art of it.
**The decor of the room I think is the unstoppable flotsam of past enterprises run out of the room and Kolstad’s own intended collage sense. Part Marcel Duchamp and part Daniel Kramer’s “Bringing It All Back Home” record cover.