Originally published @ Apeiron Review

Painted Bride Quarterly is a fellow Philadelphia based magazine that publishes short stories, fiction and essays. Their current issue is themed “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” and it is a venture into the world of comedic poetry writing. The poetry night happened on the second floor of Black Sheep Pub and Restaurant and featured writers: Tyler Antoine, Mel Bentley, Jacob A. Bennett and Amy Saul-Zerby.

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Now, on to the five things:

5. The pub…I would highly recommend the Black Sheep Pub to anyone who enjoys dim lighting, great drinks and bar tenders who actually like their jobs. Though I stuck to Angry Orchard refills, it was interesting to see the elaborate dishes that came out of the kitchen. My favorite was their famous macaroni and cheese, which looked like it was trying to force its way out of the tiny bowls they put it in. Overall, I loved the energy and the atmosphere was perfect for poetry reading: mysterious, dim and friendly.

4. Free stuff… Though there wasn’t a huge turnout, the people that did arrive got to go home with a little treat- PBQ issue cards! On these cards were quotes from different stories in the issue. Even some of the readers were featured. I thought this was a cute touch. Who doesn’t adore free stuff that you don’t need? I am, for instance, currently using it as a bookmark.

3. The poetry…The night started off with a poem by Tyler Antoine called “Dick Poem”- and it only went up from there. The audience laughed as beautiful, poetic lines such as “I want to run over your dick while it’s riding its dick-bicycle with my not-your-dick car” and “Gosh, you’re dick worked really hard today” were read loudly and unashamedly by Antoine. I sat and laughed and wondered if the people downstairs could hear us. Next, Mel Bentley read serious poetry that was beautiful and tragic and ended all of this serious, beautiful poetry by saying “I guess it could be viewed as funny.” The first two poets read interesting work and made the audience chuckle as promised, even if sometimes it was just out of embarrassment.

2. The audio file of Jacob A. Bennett…My first impression of Jacob A. Bennet was that his biography doesn’t serve well as an introduction, and since he could not make the event, instead of having someone read his work for him, he sent in an audio recording of an unpublished work. That was my second impression of him, absent in person but present in voice. The third came from the audio tape which I can only describe as an amalgamation of sounds, of low and high voices sometimes saying “I want to punch something” and sometimes screaming. After listening to it two more times, I am still not sure what to make of it, but I do know that it is one of the most interesting things I have ever heard in my life… and this was post-“dick poem.”

1. Amy Saul Zerby, who is the author of one of my new favorite poems…Within Zerby one can find infinite sarcasm and the capacity for some wonderful poetry! Zerby began with a poem entitled, “You Should Probably Quit Your Job.” The story behind this poem involves a personal history with eight hour days of erotic novel editing. My favorite line is:

after the eleventh werewolf threesome, when you are wondering if it would have killed you to major in economics instead of English and creative writing, when nipples are hard little peaks, and for some reason, cum tastes like sunshine and rainbows, and women have twelve orgasms per sexual encounter, you will want to scream, “HAVE THE READERS OF EROTIC ROMANCE NOVELS NEVER HAD SEX?”

Zerby finished off the night with some of her hilarious tweets like, “with poems like this, who needs friends!”

Overall, the night was great, the pub was good, and the poetry was fresh and funny, or, at least, “could be viewed as funny.” I would definitely recommend picking up an issue of PBQ in the future and continuing to support the literary community in Philadelphia.

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