Poetry Reuniting

Jason Splichal and Andy Patrie are back at Acoustic Café

Lindsey Quinnies

Jason Splichal reading from FLUX
Jason Splichal reading from FLUX

The Acoustic Café will be hosting a poetry performance and book selling and signing event which is not only free but also reunites two Eau Claire poets that haven’t done a reading together in six years. Eau Claire middle and high school teachers Jason Splichal and Andy Patrie first met at UWEC through their mentor Christian Knoeller. They co-wrote and published their first book of poetry, The Complications of Contact in 1999. The type of call-and-response poetry they collaborated on was unheard of at the time and is still considered rare today. The poetry scene when they started was centered around the university and was a bit “elitist.” The two thought that the poetry scene could use a boost, with Jason saying, “What the scene lacked was young talent willing to break free from the university-based writers and self-publish high quality work. It lacked young talent who would aggressively and creatively promote that quality work through organized performances…out in the broader community…which appealed to, and attracted, a broad demographic.” Jason and Andy had a novel idea to start thinking of their poetry as music, promoting their performances as a band would and making the assumption that they knew local bands did, “nobody is going to buy what you produce unless they can hear it first, fall in love with it second, and afford to take it home with them third.” After taking on this new approach to their poetry, the two had faith that if they “organized “shows” in “new” venues like coffee shops, restaurants, art galleries, and public spaces” that they would be able to be more successful. Jason says, “We love working together, and we haven’t had the opportunity to do a tag-team-style performance and dual book signing since 2006; the new release of Flux, and the second printing of Nights, Grace, gave us that opportunity.” Opening for the reading will be Emma and Chloe (Emmaline Heitzig and Chloe Heitzig), singer-song writing sisters that are both former students of Andy. “This is poetry as you’ve never experienced it before,” Jason said. “There’s a reason this event is called a performance, not a reading. Leave the leather-elbowed tweed jackets and black berets at home; this is poetry that rocks you to the core.”

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