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Poets are Present: Karren LaLonde Alenier

Poets are Present is a poetry residency in conjunction with David Ives’s adaptation of The Metromaniacs. As part of this unique theatre/poetry exchange, the Shakespeare Theatre Company is proud to host more than 30 D.C.-area poets in the theatre’s lobby. Throughout the run, we will share with you the poems that this residency inspired our guests to write. Visit our Poets are Present page to see a list of upcoming poets.

Karren LaLonde Alenier, Sunday, February 8Alenier_Karren

Karren Lalonde Alenier is author of six collections of poetry, including Looking for Divine Transportation, 2002 winner, Towson University Prize for Literature, and On a Bed of Gardenias: Jane and Paul Bowles (Katywompus Press, 2012). Forthcoming from MadHat Press in 2015 is The Anima of Paul BowlesGertrude Stein Invents a Jump Early On, her jazz opera with composer William Banfield and Encompass New Opera Theatre artistic director Nancy Rhodes premiered at New York City’s Symphony Space Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater in 2005.
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The Metromaniac audience
8 February 2015

I. tone . joy . laugh . lust . straight . flow
II. whilst . clime . grey . dart . ranch . cord
III. loose . quirk . plump . stew . grill . fork
IV. pain . risk . skip . fine . strength . itch
V. map . rise . joy . flow . nonce . talk

Coda:  unique . beautiful . incognito

–Karren Alenier
Poets are Present. February 8, 2015

The Process:

I collected words from audience members requesting one-syllable English words. Some audience members seemed flummoxed by the request. Three audience members broke the rules and contributed multi-syllabic words (and so the Coda). Most of the words were collected before the show, but not all. Two words were duplicated. The order of the words was the choice of the poet-in-residence.



Poets love love. We’re sated by what seems.
Then unlike chatterers who speak in herds,
We seek the best of all possible…words.

— The Metromaniacs

Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas spoke in code.
What is a tender button but a nipple a calf
knows well on his mother’s udder. Who speaks
cow in Voltaire’s best of all possible…
Was it Candide? Indeed, Alice Babette Toklas
served the best Sunday roast beef she
eschewed British mutton in favor of Monday’s
Boeuf Bourguignon cubes of boneless
meat browned in three tablespoons of lard
several ounces of salt pork a dozen
tiny onions a dollop of flour two
cups of very old dry Burgundy redder
than blood garlic then a bouquet
of orange peel bay leaf sprig of thyme
sliver of nutmeg salt but never never
pepper. How poets pine among
pines. How they play at plays.

–Karren Alenier
Poets are Present. February 8, 2015


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