Slam poet jumps at chance for subdued poetry

Slam poet Lewis Baden is a fixture at sessions at Mission and 16th streets that take place every Thursday night. On Sept. 25, he and several contemporaries will hold a more subdued poetry reading from noon to 6 p.m. at Gallery 28 in North Beach.

How did you assemble the poets for this reading?
All the poets, with the exception of one, are from this group that regularly performs at the corner of Mission and 16th streets. I had a chance recently to meet the owner [Ethel Jimenez] of Gallery 28, and she told me she’d love to have a poetry reading at her place. I decided it would be great to introduce the North Beach scene to some Mission poets.

What’s the difference between Mission poetry and North Beach poetry? Well, Mission poetry is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s on the sidewalk and you step in a chalk outline, and if there are two or three people already in there, you basically have to outshout the others to be heard.

Do the poets scheduled to perform at Gallery 28 have any similarities? It’s a pretty eclectic group. One guy has poems that are usually almost a hallucinogenic trip thrown in with some real clever literary entendres. One woman has very light poems, almost like fruit-loop poetry. Then, you have others with more of a hip-hop slant.

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