These Confessing Animals - Poet Jen Harris

Reviewed By Teresa Leggard

Fringe Reviewer

Thirteen poets. Forty minutes. Countless moments of resonance. In this mixed media experience which bears the fingerprints of both the Confessing Animals Podcast and The Writing Workshop KC, each performer enhances their work with a visual element and asks the viewer to see them—really see them—whether they’re placed within the frame of the camera’s gaze or not.

The work offers a panoply of aesthetics, decent production values, and addresses a wide array of themes, from finding strength to coping with Covid, from physical attraction to the need for community, from motherhood to grieving to life lived in ars poetica, and more. Here’s a set list: “The Language of Violence” Vanessa Arrico, “These Dreams Are Not My Own” Nicole Boggs, “There Is in Me” Erin McGrane, “Pilgrimage Through My House” Amanda Roth, “Another Reason to Be Quiet” Lexi Dickens, “Seasons” Abigail Dahlberg, “This Is Not a Love Note” Emery Diercks, “My Monster” Elizabeth Howard, “Feelings of Fellowship” Amber Baudler, “We Will Burn” Sandy Lynn, “Misconception” Libby Koch, “Tahlequah” Ash Parsons, and “Minutes” Poet Jen Harris.

These Confessing Animals manages to recreate an open mic on screen. It has the vulnerability, the cross section of humanity, but what’s better—when a poet says a line that blows you away, you can pause, rewind, and play it again. (This reviewer certainly did.) It’s worth the 40 minutes to dig into, as Harris would put it, “the coal mines of creation.” To quote another confessor, Ash Parsons, “You will stop what you are doing—even if for a moment—and feel with me.”