Echoed the Natural Elements: What Where Series with Megan Kaminski, Reed Bye, and Ruth Ellen Kocher, Sept. 10, 2013

by Jennifer van Alstyne

The What Where Series on September 10 was intimate, rows of chairs in front of a small black stage, a dark room, wildflowers. Reed Bye, a Naropa University professor, read from his new book from Monkey Puzzle Press, Catching On. His work with sentence syntax within his poems was seamless during the reading, especially in “As snow begins:” “beggars can’t be choose nor is she/ entering your mirror now/ about to paint fresh red the walls.” Bye’s work was strong, and sure.

Ruth Ellen Kocher read from domina Un/blued (Tupelo Press), her latest book which was nominated for the prestigious National Book Award. Her reading was certainly one of empowerment and involved layers of feminism, enslavement, and the body. Her multi-voiced readings were powerful, creating an intentional state of lost-in-translation.

Megan Kaminski, author of Desiring Map, read last. Her lyric poetry differed quite a bit from the others, but its innovative soundwork echoed the natural elements within her poetry. Within the lyric was syntax of place, plains, and ecocriticism. She created a landscape for us in which teleology was apparent. As such, Kaminski’s reading last bore a doubled finality with the impending storm. It was a pleasure to have these wonderful poets at the 2013 opening reading of the Jack Kerouac School What Where Series.


Jennifer van Alstyne is an MFA candidate and fellow at the Jack Kerouac School. She is the poetry editor of Bombay Gin. Her work has appeared in the Eunoia Review, MLM, Poetry Quarterly, The Monmouth Review, The Foundling Review, and Paper Nautilus. She is currently working on a collection about Hurricane Sandy and Asbury Park, NJ.