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The Return of Poetry Plus

For the first time in eight years, Poetry Plus+ returns to Busan for the first of its two planned performances in Busan this year. HAPS talked with its creator, Kenneth May, about the reincarnation of the event, the first of which takes place this Saturday, June 27th at Eva’s Ticket in Kyungsung.

Poetry Plus+ existed from 2000 to 2007. Why is it coming back?

Gosh, so many forces ignite this reincarnation. Back then it was the only thing we could do to make drinking and hanging out more enjoyable. There are so many talented people here now. Since the end of Poetry Plus, we’ve all been digging individual events. 2015 seemed like the right time to revisit, re-create, and connect a circle so it can expand.

What should people expect when they dedicate a night of their future Facebook history to Poetry Plus+?

I don’t know!! Always an element of surprise. Like long ago, we’re assembling a show across artistic disciplines while presenting creators who possess the same passion from different ranges of experience. We are all at different stages of life. The show will reflect that: heartfelt, witty, goofy, hardcore. Call it a Library of Congress reading, a tipsy open music mic, and the TV show, “Laugh In”.

Is this just for kicks?

Well, I hope cooperative endeavors are always for kicks and hopefully kick some butt in the process–in a good way. But it’s a start, if that’s what you’re getting at. In the past, events were singular events: Poetry Plus+ and its offspring, Wordz Only. We used to pray for VHS players to not chew tapes, for mixing boards to turn on, for drums to have drumsticks. Everything is better. There will be three continuous connected events: Poetry Plus+, Wordz Only, The Liquid Poetry Workshop.

What’s the difference?

Poetry Plus+ will happen in June and September–and once in Seoul during a winter month. Already, we’re looking for artists who want to share in the inaugural trek. Wordz Only will be a monthly event on a weeknight with a featured reader who chooses three supporting readers. We’ll leave five open spots. 75 to 90 minutes. Done. Drink and talk. The Liquid Poetry Workshop will be a loose hang out at Galmegi Oryukdo. If someone has a poem, prose poem, song lyric, or one page essay, we workshop it. The goal is to be fluid and immediate, which is why we’re excluding longer works in fiction and non-fiction. The events will inform each other. We plan to have a strong online presence, too.

How has Busan enabled an artistic crowd to thrive?

Long answer! All of us have one thing in common: we’ve all given up something to be here. Expat life is a way of life now but the world’s at our fingertips. Being active is one way to inflate desire into fulfillment. It becomes addictive. In the early years, the Korean community, especially Dong-Ha Kim, at OL 55, supported the fledgling community. In recent years, the owners of Eva’s Ticket, HQ, Sharky’s, and Galmegi Brewery have put much more than sweat equity into their pursuits. Finally, shiny souls arrive in Busan and put down roots or pass on through and leave with the Bu stuck to their shoes.

You can check out the event on its Facebook event page.


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About Jeff Liebsch

Jeff Liebsch has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Eurobasket, Tribal Football and Yonhap News. He can be followed on Twitter at @chevybusan.

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