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The barbaric yawp of APG


"hiss if you will, there are rear-ends made of mouths, / the popular media, / if you will"

We at CL hope that Atlanta poet Zac Denton is aiming this slam at ass-mouthed radio DJs or teenage pop idols in tight clothes with cotton candy voices. Surely he does not want to insult the infallible (wink, wink) world of print media.

Regardless, his gibes are as pointed as a syringe and inject a near-lethal dose of essential language.

Denton is a three-year member of the Atlanta Poets' Group, which meets once a week to read and discuss their own work and the work of others. They also create collaborative pieces. But, the Atlanta Poets' Group is not like other spoken word/slam groups.

"All of us at APG see poetry as 'the language art,'" says co-founder, John Lowther. The conglomerate of wordsmiths generally defines themselves as "an experimental poetry outfit" who "share a desire to explore what is possible with respect to writing, performing and otherwise manipulating language," says Lowther.

The group's bards hail from all walks of life. They are therapists, philosophers, lawyers, professors, librarians, grandfathers, cubicle hacks and generic vagabonds. And their poetry reflects their diversity.

In addition to their weekly meetings, Atlanta Poets' Group gives public performances. They're slated to return to Eyedrum for a night of poetic levity Aug. 14. The group will perform multi-voice poetry, improv poetry, full-body poetry, object poetry, virtual poetry, square dance poetry, collaborative dialogue and, of course, the ever-conventional poetry on paper. Be prepared for a challenge to your lyrical senses. The most rebellious of their work is sound poetry. The group takes its audience to language limbo, a primordial place where the sound is understood, though the audience may not speak the language. "Flasy, lapoannny ... Je choclabooteruntey pshier?" ponders Lowther.

"Lose your occlusion," he says. "That which denies all language is poetry."

Atlanta Poets' Group presents an evening of experimental poetry Aug. 14 at 8:30 p.m. at Eyedrum Music and Art Gallery, 290 MLK Drive, Suite 8. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org.

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