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Sean Thomas Dougherty: this month's Featured Poet on The Bakery

Congratulations to BOA Poet Sean Thomas Dougherty for being featured this month by The Bakery! Sean Thomas Dougherty Dougherty, who gave an amazing poetry reading at this year's BOA "Poetry is Jazz" event, is known for his "electrifying performances" given worldwide, and is the author of Sasha Sings the Laundry on the Line (BOA, 2010), Broken Hallelujahs (BOA, 2007), and the forthcoming All I Ask for Is Longing: New and Selected Poems (BOA, 2014). More information on Dougherty is available on The Bakery website, in addition to samples of his poetry and this brief statement by the artist: "These poems show the range I’ve been working in, exploring leaps and non sequiturs, often collaged, for over a decade. To explore the possibility of implying multiple narratives in one poem, of elisions, of meaning, and yet of also retaining the possibility of story. Many of these decisions I make are based on sound, and a system of tones and vowels that drive the poem. To make 20th century Avant-garde principles more accessible (thereby continuing a 21st century aesthetic of diverse approaches to the poem) and to make narrative and clarity more ambiguous (which I would argue is a form of freedom for the reader) yet retain what I like to call “a sense of body,” that the poem was written by someone with a body and that lived experience matters. Too many poems by Avant-garde and academic poets read as if they do not have bodies. They are analytical or nonsensical or simply ironic and thereby, well, dead. True experimentation is not academic or simply analytical, but embodied and breathing. I write this way because I am many poets, as I am many people, moving back and forth between collage and performance to straight narration, as I move back and forth between being a man, a father, a worker, an activist, a citizen, a survivor, etc. But then weren’t our American mother and father, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, many poets too? How many of us would be multiple if just given the permission to know we could sing as a Chorus of One? I’m writing lately to fill holes in feelings that I feel I haven’t been able to yet find." See video footage of Dougherty's poetry reading at BOA's 2012 "Poetry is Jazz" event: Part I; Part II.

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