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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bernstein and Andrews

      Nope - Bernstein and Andrews is not some personal injury law firm. They were the features at  a reading I attended at Visible Voice books in Tremont.

Michael Bernstein growls through his set.
    Michael Berstein and Nin Andrews held court in the cozy upstairs reading room for ten or so listeners on a rainy Saturday night. Berstein took the "stage" first dragging a chair up, sitting down, then launching sans prelude into scores of short poems. He flipped through pages stapled in the corner as if he were counting money from a bank heist in some backroom rarely looking up from his page punctuating every word with the same strained intensity. When he did look up he didn't raise his head giving the impression of a center eyeing a nosegaurd right before the snap of the ball.

     Then as abruptly as he started, Bernstein flashed a peace sign growled over and out and he was done. I felt like he was enduring his set as much as delivering a reading. In my opinion Bernstein seemed much more comfortable introducing his fellow feature Nin Andrews than he did presenting his own work.

Nin Andrews at Visible Voice Books
In stark contrast to our first reader Nin began her set  conversationally giving a bit of background info on the subject matter of her first couple pieces. Folksy narratives about  superstition, her father and aunt followed, poignant and humorous read with a smidgen of Southern charm.  She wasn't quite as comfortable when she switched to pieces from a new collection she is working on centered around a fictional island state where the ultimate authority and political power rests in woman's hands.

To paraphrase Nin's introduction - there was certainly worse things one could be doing with their time on a rainy Saturday night and I did not regret my trek.

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The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau