Dave Brinks is the enthusiastic host and ringleader of 17 Poets! Reading Series at the Gold Mine Saloon in the Quarter. He feeds all the hungry lions poetry on Thursday nights, with featured readers followed by a welcoming open mic. This doesn't mean some of the observing lions don't speak up -- because they do -- but usually these moments are reserved for the more seasoned poets. It's just a little good-spirited backtalk, a little irreverence or even an indication of knowing agreement, and this dialogue makes the crowd laugh like a family. After the more seasoned poets step down, the podium is open to anybody. Everyone has their say.
Besides being the proprietor of the saloon (along with his wife, poet Megan Burns), and the editor of YAWP: A Journal of Poetry and Art, and the publisher behind Trembling Pillow Press, and a regular contributor to local and national print and radio media, Dave Brinks is also a prolific poet. He has previously been a featured reader at his own series, taking the sweet jabs just like the others and graciously jabbing back, but this time around, something feels a little different.
Brinks is the first to admit that the words in his new book of poetry, The Caveat Onus: Book One, are some the best he has written to date. The new book is both engaging and entrancing. There are the carefully selected words, and there are the places these words take the reader, places simultaneously mystical and concrete. Brinks began the book eight months before the flood and finished it a few months after. For New Orleans readers, the change in tone is felt and significant. Reading along one might notice lines such as "houses with the encryption of an X," which both remind and relieve us of the burden of our experience. Small images, small movements and actions fill this book to create a dreamy and personal landscape, like a good bedtime story, an attempt joining all the other attempts to describe a life in this small city of ours. Brinks will read from and sign his book. -- Katie Walenter
7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 8