We’re celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Monday Night Poetry Series at KGB Bar with spotlights on the poets who have hosted the series. Megin Jiménez hosted the series from 2009–2012. She speaks to us from The Netherlands, where she works as a translator and writes poetry and fiction. This is the fifth post in a six-part series. To read our previous features please click the links below:
Part 1 featuring Monday Night Poetry Series co-founder Star Black
Part 2 featuring Monday Night Poetry Series co-founder David Lehman
Part 3 featuring series hosts Deborah Landau and Matthew Zapruder
Part 4 featuring series hosts Laura Cronk and Michael Quattrone
Megin Jiménez was born in Mérida, Venezuela and grew up in Denver. Her work has appeared in Barrow Street, Denver Quarterly, La Petite Zine, LIT, Sentence,Tarpaulin Sky, and other journals. She is a graduate of The New School Writing Program and co-hosted Monday Night Poetry at KGB Bar for many years. She works as a translator and lives in Leiden, The Netherlands.
New School: When did you step into your role as host and who have you shared the role with?
Megin Jiménez: I hosted from 2009 to 2012, 7 seasons and close to 200 poets. Laura Cronk (friend and fellow 2004 MFA alumnus) and Michael Quattrone brought me on board as they both had their hands full with young kids at home. I brought in Matt Yeager (also a friend and fellow 2004 MFA alumnus) when Michael and Laura moved on in 2011, and Matt and I eventually brought in John Deming (another NS powerhouse who founded the website Coldfront).
NS: The KGB Poetry Series is legendary in New York. Hosting the series and being responsible for its trajectory is a thrilling but also very serious charge. Could you say something about what was on your mind when you first took on this curatorial role? What kinds of work were you most excited to showcase? What about the experience were you most looking forward to?
MJ: I was excited to have living, breathing poetry in my life on a regular basis, and to take on the project with fellow poet friends. Having been someone who was crippled with shyness as a child and always spoke too softly to be heard, I was initially terrified to take the podium, but also wanted to push myself in this way. I liked the informal format of having a first-book poet paired with a complementary, more established poet and looked forward to the puzzle of finding good pairings. It was also fun to be able to see David Lehman on a regular basis again. Of course it was also exciting to be able to invite poets I admired and there being a good chance of them accepting, with pleasure...