Lisa Pasold

John Kliphan & The Live Poets Society

John Kliphan is one of the reasons I'm a poet in Paris, and I'm going to miss him. John died last month, here in the city he loved. The Live Poets Society, founded, curated, and directed by John, was the longest-running reading series of its kind in Paris. Through Live Poets, we were given the chance to meet once a month--always in an excellent pub--to listen to new work, hear old favourites, and talk about poetry. For John, poetry was something very much alive and spoken; he used to explain patiently that Live Poets wasn't a Society you could buy a membership for...you simply became part of it by showing up, by listening, and by reading your work. He always (ALWAYS) wore a black beret.

 

John was one of the first people who ever invited me to be "a featured reader" and he actually paid his poets for their work, which was (and remains) a radical concept. He believed that poetry was valid, necessary, and completely normal, rather like breathing--a lesson which I continue to appreciate. I was lucky to read with John a few times, and I'm honoured to be part of his memorial reading on March 4. 

Here's John Kliphan's poem for Chet Baker, from his collection, Chain Songs:

Chet

I don't want to die

I just want to go in the back room

For a while

 

Mysterious Passages - walking in Paris

what kind of noise exactly does a lobster make while walking along Italian marble mosaics? in honour of Gerard de Nerval, a pet lobster featured as a character today in the story-walk through the 19th-century arcades between Passages Jouffroy & the Palais-Royal...

Cafe du Monde, New Orleans

after the beignets have disappeared - the tell-tale icing sugar trails out of the Cafe du Monde and into the night

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