The Grab Bag

Once upon a time, there was a brilliant open mic in Asbury Park, NJ at The Annex. While filling in for the regular host, Stanza Cannon EIC Ink tried something a little different: a grab bag. Each poet folded one poem and tossed it into a bag, which was then jostled and re-opened. Each participant took a random poem out of the bag, mulled it over a while, and then read it on stage as part of their set. It was a ton of fun, and people consistently requested it.

Sadly, the spot where those readings took place is now defunct, so Ink yearned to bring this idea back in a different way: an online publication where the original poet’s work appears in their own voice alongside that same work in the voice of another contributor.

While the concept behind it might sound simple and even repetitive, The Grab Bag lets authors learn a lot about their own work from how others interact with it via their recitations. Reading someone else’s poetry aloud also allows readers to step out of their own head/throat to challenge how and what they communicate. And listeners expand their own comprehension of the poems from being able to hear two different takes on the same arrangement of words.

Through the megaphone that is Stanza Cannon, imagine the sympathy we can drive by sharing poems in different voices across the world instead of one geographically isolated performance space. The digital world is truly our stage, and we’re seeking orators. Go to the Submissions page to find out how to participate!