Public libraries have undergone a tremendous evolution.
They sound a lot busier these days, perhaps because they now allow sound in libraries these days. The librarian is no longer a shushing silence Nazi, more fluent in the Dewey decimal system than they are in the English language, or social graces. These days, they function more as a literary concierge, assisting the library guest through the cornucopia of literary and social functions that libraries now play host to.
It’s an exciting time for libraries, as they have transformed from august and sacred book repositories to lively community hubs, hosting nearly all forms and genres of media.
The public library in Tarzana is one of those hubs. The dark and womb-like comfort zones of bookworms and nerds has become an airy, inviting family center which hosts one of the best poetry readings in the Los Angeles area.
The last Saturday of each month, the library holds a poetry reading facilitated by Wyatt Underwood and Ron “Goose” Gregus, two prominent San Fernando Valley poets.
Wyatt’s quiet style and Ron’s bombast work together seamlessly as hosts, each lending whatever vibe is necessary for the afternoon’s reading to move forward. And indeed, the reading moves forward comfortably and organically.
This handling of the reading not only gives the audience comfort, but also lends the poet a sense of security—at a recent reading, many artists (with whom this writer is familiar) stepped outside of their normal “performance zones” in presenting untried works or even untried performances. A reading’s greatest success lies in its ability to develop the talents of the artist without prompting. When an artist strives to better their art, both artist and audience benefit. The Tarzana Public Library, under the guidance of Messrs. Gregus and Underwood, receives high marks for this. It’s a community treasure.
5 of 5 stars – Excellent reading!
The Tarzana Public Library:
18231 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, CA
Last Saturday of the month; Open mic sign-up: 1:30 pm
Showtime: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm