Back to All Events

Reading: Mass Transit

Sunday October 13 * 3:00 - 4:30 pm * $10 * TICKETS

During the early 1970s, the Mass Transit open reading series at the Community Bookstore in DC, initiated by poets Lee and Michael Lally, Ed Cox, and Terence Winch, served as a focal point for experimentation, in writing and in living, in the Washington area and beyond. In contrast to the hierarchies of the academy and formal arts organizations, Mass Transit welcomed all comers, yet fostered a high level of awareness of the history and modes of poetry as well as contemporary practice. Voices of feminism and gay liberation, peace activism, black nationalism, and progressive politics were raised in the upstairs room at 20th and P Sts NW; comedy and polemics shared space with the most advanced avant-garde writing; and everyone had a chance to share their work — as long as they didn’t exceed their allotted time.

The effect on poetry in Washington DC was both disruptive and galvanizing, invigorating the arts and introducing important bonds with other arts communities around the country.

The historical impact of the Mass Transit reading series will be discussed at a special panel session of the conference of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present at the University Maryland, College Park, on Thursday, October 10, chaired by scholars Diarmuid Hester and Kaplan Harris, and hosting several Mass Transit poets .

Rhizome DC celebrates Mass Transit with a reading featuring Mass Transit poets Michael Lally, Terence Winch, Beth Joselow, Tina Darragh, P Inman, and Bernard Welt, with special remembrance of the participating writers who are no longer with us.

Earlier Event: October 12
Film Program: Animate Landscapes