Tuesday nights at the Squeakeasy used to be about the art of poetry.[pullquote]If it’s not your poet, if it’s not your point of view, you won’t be here. I think that’s a very closed-minded way to be.—Poet Marcus Mosquito on Squeakeasy Tuesdays[/pullquote]
Poets—young and old, professional and amateur, aspiring and established—flocked to the pub to read their latest creations. It was a safe place to get some feedback on your work.
“You could see and hear the response to your poetry immediately. The audience was very opinionated and they were known for that. If they didn’t understand or they thought they had a better idea, they’d tell you. And it was honest and that’s what made it valuable. It wasn’t tied in with anything else. It was just the writing,” poet Winston Wombat told The Mammalian Daily.
But these days, it seems things are different. Organizers are wary of discussing it openly, but poets themselves admit the priorities have changed.
“It’s gone from the lyrical to the polemical. Everything has become more political,” says Setsuko Macaque, the award-winning haiku poet who is revered throughout The Park.
“Even the audience has changed. It depends on who is reading that week. That’s not how it used to be. Before, the place would be full because the audience wanted to hear poetry. Now, it’s this group or that group, this poet’s or that poet’s followers. It’s all different, ” she says.
Poet Marcus Mosquito agrees.
“You didn’t pick and choose. You came here to hear new poems and, obviously, to have a drink. But you were open to new things, new ideas. Now it’s shut down. If it’s not your poet, if it’s not your point of view, you won’t be here. I think that’s a very closed-minded way to be.”