Travis Noonan-The Corsair
“End of the Line [Café] was often packed with a wide variety of people coming to respect art on honest terms,” Barrett White, who recently moved to Tallahassee to attend FSU, said. “Our differences united us into something greater.”
But now the group has been cut down to a bare minimum.
Pensacola State student Patrick Hudson has been participating in and running the local poetry group, named the New Poets Society (NPS), for over a year and a half. “It’s been sort of slow lately,” Hudson said. “It was slow around this time last year.”
A large amount of readers have moved, mostly, according to Hudson, to further their education.
“The first three fourths of [the first] year, nobody came,” said Hudson. “It was pretty much just a core group of people.”
“One cause of this drop in attendance is that so many of our most active participants have moved to other parts of the country,” Scott Mayo, who has been with NPS since the beginning, said. “Another cause, I think, is simply summer.”
But not only has the number of readers decreased; there has also been a recent shortage of audience members as well. End of the Line Café, the sanctuary for NPS, was known for filling up to virtually maximum capacity at every reading.
“Often times, Tuesday nights were standing room only, and many were happy to oblige. Not a single seat went unfilled for many weeks,” said White.
The once crowded nights of no seating and twenty plus readers have seemingly vanished. Now, not only do just ten or so poets sign up per night, but they also make up the majority of the audience members. Regardless, Hudson states that he will continue holding weekly meetings “as long as we’re allowed to.”
Most remaining regulars aren’t too concerned with the drop in attendance. “I think attendance will pick back up now that summer’s over and people are returning to work and school,” Mayo said.
The poetry group may not be the only thing affected by the lack of attendance. Hudson also runs an independent publishing company, Anomic Press.
A 2009 anthology of poems by members of NPS was released late last year by the local press, but hopes of a 2010 publication appear to be grim. “Out of NPS, I don’t know if we’re going to see another anthology,” said Hudson, “but there will be new material coming out before January.”
NPS still meets at End of the Line Café every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.