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The KGB Bar Book of Poems


David Lehman and Star Black (View Bio)
Hardcover: William Morrow, 2000; Paperback: William Morrow, 2000.

The KGB Bar Book of Poems

Started in 1997 by poets David Lehman and Star Black, the KGB Bar poetry series is widely recognized as the hottest and perhaps the best reading series in New York. Located in the hip East Village KGB Bar, these Monday-night readings boast a fantastic variety and quality of internationally known poets from Charles Simic, Molly Peacock, and Katha Pollit to Marie Howe, Mark Strand, and Yusef Komunyakaa.

Now Lehman and Black have gathered work from the first three seasons into a wonderful anthology. Together with a generous supply of photographs and anecdotes from contributors on the most memorable thing ever to happen to them at a poetry reading, this unique book of poems reflects the amazing variety and energy of poetry today.

"The pre-Russian Revolutionary locale gives the gathering a commited, not to say conspiratorial air, and it somehow manages to foster a true sense of camraderie, experimentation, and open exchange between readers and audience. I've seldom enjoyed an evening of poetry and friendship more." — Jonathan Galassi

"The feel of the room brought back my poet youth in the seventies — that same rush hour ambience and who's who excitement and an equivalently imaginative combining of poets." — Honor Moore

"Not since the days of the beatniks have poetry readings been so popular. In New York City, the series named by New York magazine as the best is a simple, no-frills affair, packed with a standing-room-only crowd intent on [hearing] the most famous poets in America mixed with the up-and-comers." — Pittsburgh Times Review

"KGB has, in its curators and comperes, the good sense and smarts to knock down the walls of the anthology wars which seem to divide poet from poet, unleashing a vitality that floods this volume like a good rendering." — Bob Holman

"In spite of the bar's sinister name, it has a dark crimson-walled smoky air of high security in the best sense: a virtual womb of poetry and good writing, a safe house of camaraderie and kinship between the writers and the audience. This is not a place to take for granted." — Bill Wadsworth

"Everything about the shabby place holds the vicious honesty of art passionately made, so poets behave themselves in an uncommon luxury of self-awareness and even kindness toward an audience so discriminating that it selects second by second the true from false step." — Molly Peacock

"Despite all the smoke and noise from the outside, the presence in such proximity of so many poets I admire made it feel as though the audience were a giant, ideal ('star infested') ear, hearing everything I wanted them to hear and more. It was exhilarating." — Charles North

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