If Not For Kidnap – A Reading Series

Art & Design
I walk in as Drew Grow plays the last song of his set. Then Donald Dunbar introduces Lisa Ciccarello and she reads a poem in front of rows of couches full of listeners. I’m at the If Not For Kidnap poetry reading series in SE Portland.


After the reading I sit with Donald on the back patio and we chat about the poetry series. We’re surrounded by ten or so people lounging in chairs and smoking cigarettes beneath white Christmas lights that hang above the deck.灰太狼充气滑梯

What made you start the If Not For Kidnap reading series?

“Jamalieh Haley and I met twice at poetry readings and we were both feeling real awkward so basically to make conversation we decided to start ‘a living room poetry reading series.’ Then we tried to think of a name for it.”

There are other readings cropping up, what do you think of the current scene?

“The Portland poetry scene has gotten extra vibrant lately. Matty and Carrie at Small Doggies have some projects in the works that are straight up ambitious, and Joseph, Zach, and Drew at Bad Blood have somehow managed to get a couple of my favorite poets in the world to come to town, and there’s so many other series that have found ways to engineer these fun evenings and create community and books and all these things. I obviously think it’s great. It’s also getting bigger, because listening to poetry and drinking a beer while meeting a bunch of nice people is obviously a good way to spend an evening.

People I think are also realizing how easy it is to put together a killer evening. Probably the toughest part is forcing yourself to be a little social.”

What’s next on the agenda for the series?

“I don’t think Jamal and I really have greater ambitions for our series. It’s sort of perfect how it is. If it stops being fun for us we’ll do something different.”


If Not For Kidnap takes place on the last Tuesday of every month at 3968 SE Mall St. Portland, OR 97202. Also take a look at the comprehensive list of Portland readings.

See Also:

July’s If Not For Kidnap Reading & Portland Street Style

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