TONIGHT: Less holiday cheer, more nightmare with Galway Kinnell

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Tonight, a handful of local performers and poets will come together at Lost Love Lounge (2529 Dauphine St.) to celebrate the late poet Galway Kinnell with a performance of The Book of Nightmares.

Gary Esolen, one of the founders of the group (and one of the founding editors of Gambit), which is humbly called the Great American Poetry and Theatre Company and includes Mikko and Diana Shortez, says the volume of poems might seem like a gloomy choice for the holidays, but inherent in its darkness is a sense of love and wonder. "It is not a cheerful poem, but it is as obsessed with life and love as it is with death," he says. 

This is the group's first reading, but Esolen says they plan to do more "performances for voices" using the poetry, playwriting and literature that speaks to them. The Book of Nightmares is rooted in Galway's opposition to the Vietnam War and other social woes of the 1960's. The Great American Poetry and Theatre Company will read works by Robert Frost and a play Esolen wrote about Dylan Thomas, among others, throughout the new year.

"It's not just a standard reading," Esolen says. "We think that poems should be performed by professional actors."

Tonight's performance begins at 8 p.m. and admission is by donation. 


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