The idea for an interactive poetry performance like No River Twice arose from a Virginia Festival of the Book reading in 2010 with Aaron Baker, Ed Skoog and me. The three of us had never read together, but we, and the audience, discovered with delight a few running motifs through the reading— the most glorious one being the “Pig Motif.” Aaron read a poem about preparations for a wedding in Papua, New Guinea, I followed it with my poem “Self Portrait With the Smithfield Ham We Had to Cut on The Bandsaw” and Ed followed that with a section of poem that included a hog in moonlight rampaging through flowers and headstones. The experience lifted everyone in the room with the innocent pleasure of play, connection and interactivity between poets and audience.
In 2017 I asked poets from Pennsylvania's Bucks and Montgomery County Poet Laureate Programs and a few others to try out the project. We started with a private test audience in November 2017, and continued performing, experimenting and refining the structure of NRT throughout 2018. We have been thrilled with the enthusiastic responses.
No River Twice is an experiment in how to bring playfulness, surprise and communal participation into
the realm of poetry readings. We welcome your feedback, questions and interest !
-- Hayden Saunier