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South Bended: Impromptu 1st Book Reading

Whew. Shit. Glad I got this out of the way.  Rauan invited me up to South Bend to read with him and Johannes Goransson and Joyelle McSweeney two days before the actual reading. Despite the fact that I had read some of the MS poems before and that everyone was incredibly kind and easy going, including the host Tasha, I was incredibly nervous. As documented here.

But I got through it and had a real good time talking and listening to the other readers and the Notre Dame MFAers. They’re a good bunch.  I really hope they go through with their plan to set up a counter circus to the Obama protesting circus replete with face paint and a man dressed as bear with cymbals. Do it!

And I finally had the chance to buy worms for my compost bin at on my home at 1:30 AM. Indiana is good for that kind of stuff.  Also looking forward to reading more from Joyelle and Johannes. Any suggestions?


Filed under: Events

About the Author

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Joe Hall is the author of five books of poetry, including Someone's Utopia (2018) and Fugue & Strike (forthcoming). His poems, reviews, and scholarship have appeared in Poetry Daily, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, Postcolonial Studies, Peach Mag,, PEN America Blog, Poetry Northwest, Ethel Zine, Gulf Coast, Best Buds! Collective, and Eighteenth-Century Fiction. He has taught poetry workshops for teachers, teens, and workers through Just Buffalo and the WNYCOSH Worker Center.


  1. tom

    Freud said the primary appeal of circuses is the plebeian fascination with the difference between human and animal: In a circus, the role of the human and the role of the animal are up for grabs by either. Having an anti-Obama circus seems, to me, to betray a desire to disseminate the image of Obama as a murderous, baby-devouring bear that has been anthropomorphized and put in charge of the government, like a medieval carnival. The image of the civilized bear-man capable of sudden violence was used repeatedly in anti-Stalin propaganda. Here’s a good one by R. Kipling (at least, it was utilized as such, even if not so intended —

    The Bear that Walks Like a Man:

    When he stands up as pleading, in wavering, man-brute
    When he veils the hate and cunning of his little swinish eyes,
    When he shows as seeking quarter, with paws like hands in
    That is the time of peril — the time of the Truce of the Bear.

  2. joescirehall

    Wow, an anti-communist saint? I wonder if the Catholic church has gotten around to devising a saint for counter-terrorism. Thanks for posting. This kind of makes me write something titled “Truce of the Bear.”

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