Vis-á-Vis: Sierra Nelson Makes Poetry Swing

I too hate to iron my clothes.

I find comfort in Dr. Ink and Dr. Owning, the lead scientists of the Vis-á-Vís Society, founded by Sierra Nelson and co-poet and “scientist” Rachel Kessler. A project of Jack Straw Productions, Vis-á-Vis is the perfect blend of old school (but not quite out dated) science, poetry, and audience surveys: i.e. live literary performance. My question, what is it that makes performing the literary so catchy? As Sierra and Rachel discuss in their youtube debut, their roots are in poetry and writing. It is here that they delve into their audience and what, exactly, will happen with each experiment on the stage. As scientists their work begins as poets. As poets, their work begins on the page. And in the end, everything is left up to the audience with a mouthful of improvisation.

So I invite Sierra Nelson – who, by the way, is a seasonal teacher at Richard Hugo House here in Seattle – to perform her work this September 18th with the PLOP! Literary Series. If I’ve gotten my history (or science 😉 right, Sierra just returned from Italy and has some new poetry fresh for reading.

You can catch her work online at various journals and the Vis-á-Vis society will be performing this fall across the board – tap into what’s happening and how to survey your audience opinion @

Keep up the science, and keep up the poetry!