If you’ve read the November edition of the Virtual Poetorium which I posted here on this blog a couple of weeks ago, you might recall me mentioning that although my co-host & cohort Ron was planning on placing the Poetorium on hiatus for the month of December (like we did last year) because he felt everyone would be too busy with holiday plans to participate, I, being very fond of past holiday poetry gatherings (like the wonderful Jingle Mingle that local Worcester area poet Anne Marie Lucci hosted each year at her Streetbeat poetry venue, the open mic and poetry reading that I named my invented poetry form the streetbeatina after, or the one we usually did with my own reading the Poet’s Parlor) suggested perhaps creating a special bonus stripped-down Christmas-themed session (with no featured poet, interview, mystery poet segment, or writing challenges, but two virtual open mics – one regular and another for Christmas and New Year-themed work, and possibly the good old group poem) to be called “the Virtual Ho-Ho-etorium” if enough people expressed interest (whoa, that just may be the longest run-on sentence I ever wrote!).
Well, I heard from a few folks from our group (although admittedly not a lot) who really wanted to do it (in fact, four already submitted their poems) so I am happy to announce the “Ho-Ho-etorium” will definitely happen. Although the “Ho-Ho-etorium” will not be officially part of the Poetorium, and might have been held on any date, I decided it would be easier to post it on the Poetorium web site (and this blog as well) on the last Tuesday of the month (like we do with the Poetorium) which we will be December 29th, 2020. Also, although this is fairly short notice, I’d like open up the Ho-Ho-etorium for anyone who would to like participate and invite my fellow bloggers and faithful readers (or just anyone just happening to read this) to be a part of this special yuletide online poetry gathering in print. If this sounds like something you would like to do, please send us up to two poems or stories (one should be holiday-themed) in an attached Word document file or pasted in the body of the email along with your name, where you are from, any opening remarks you care to make, and where your poems or stories have appeared (if they were previously published) to firstname.lastname@example.org by Saturday, December 26th. Also if you like, you can send us a photo of yourself (even better if you are posing in holiday attire) to be posted above your poem or story, but that is totally optional.
We will also need contributions to the Ho-Ho-etorium Christmas-themed group poem. If you would like to participate, please send us one to six lines starting with the phrase “Christmas is… ” also to the above email address. All contributions (please let us know if you wish to have your name listed as an contributor of if you wish to remain anonymous) will be compiled into the group poem and included in the Virtual Ho-Ho-etorium. Once again, the deadline for submissions is the night of Saturday, December 26th.
Although we are jettisoning most of the segments associated with the Poetorium, we are also adding two special ones just for the Ho-Ho-etorium. Since some of my favorite memories of actual past holiday poetry gatherings involved food, those exquisite tasty treats which we would all bring in to share with each other (who in the Worcester poetry community could forget Anne Marie’s blonde brownies at the Jingle Mingle or my mom’s chocolate chip cookies at the Poet’s Parlor?), I decided to replace the usual virtual vendor’s table with a virtual poet’s banquet table. Since this is an imaginary poetry reading in the form of the transcipt, I think it would be fitting for all of us to contribute some imaginary food for a virtual poet’s potluck. Just mention what delicious imaginary dish you are bringing. It could be something you might have actually brought, or something totally fanciful (like caviar from the flying carp of the planet Neptune). For extra (blonde) brownie points, include a photo of your delicious dish and/or a recipe so everyone can sample it in their own kitchen.
Also what Christmas gathering would be complete without the tradition of gift-giving? I remember us staging Yankee Gift Swaps at the Poet’s Parlor as well as making everyone salt dough Santa ornaments (I was so much more ambitious and energetic back then). So to add the traditional present-giving element to our imaginary holiday gathering, I propose a variation on the old surrealist game The Time Travelers’ Potlatch. In case you are not familiar with it (by the way, a potlatch is a gift-giving competition practiced in certain cultures), the game is played by having each person describe the gift that they would present to various historical, mythical, or fictional figures of their choice on the occasion of meeting them. Our variation will be The Surreal Secret Santa List in which we all list up to six historical, mythical, or fictional figures and the xmas presents we would give them if we were their surreal Secret Santas. As an example, here is a sample of a list I created to inspire you:
Paul’s Surreal Secret Santa List
To Socrates, an economy-sized bottle of Ipecac
To Elvis Presley, a dozen bananas, two jars of Jiff peanut butter, and a two pound package of Oscar Mayer bacon.
To Donald Trump, a complete collection of “The West Wing” on DVD given to him for Christmas 2016 with a note saying “Please watch by January 20th!”).
To Salvador Dali, a platinum porcipine quill-studded mustache comb.
To Doctor Watson, his very own sidekick.
Remember you can choose any historical, mythical, or fictional figure you wish, and the gifts can be as practical or wacky as you want. Of course, you don’t have to submit a list if you don’t want to, but it would be so much fun if everyone did.
I am sad to say I do not believe it’s likely that my friend and co-host Ron Whittle will be participating in the Ho-Ho-etorium, but it won’t be because he does not want to. Unfortunately, Ron has recently been suffering from some serious medical issues that require hospitalization, so although most of you never even met him, please, dear readers, keep him in your prayers and wishes, and let’s all hope for his speedy recovery!
If you do have any questions about submitting to the two virtual open mics, the group poem, or anything else about the Virtual Ho-Ho-etorium itself, please leave them in the comments of this post, and I will try to answer them right away.
Thank you so very much for reading! I really appreciate everyone’s continued support of this blog, and hope to hear from you soon with your yuletide contributions!