Late at night last week, at a Bar in Pomona, after a reading at Dim Lights, I bought a local beer, Pomona Queen, for myself and one for the featured poet. A man I’ve come to know, respect, and admire as a writer and person over the last few months, Michael Torres.
Torres’s poetry is published internationally, and writes of the working class, of what he was, what he could have been, of change in himself and in others. His every line crackles with a subtle excitement and trepidation for the future.
He read to a packed house of over seventy people in a room where fifty people makes for standing-room-only. Torres has such a following that the entire main stage was crushed with attendees and still more waited in the hallways. Dim Lights is a reading that leans towards spoken word, and Torres read accordingly. While some of his pieces are written in a more old-school style, last night he read poems that were what Dim Lights likes to hear.
He moved about the stage like a pro and recited his memorized poems with a preternatural sense of timing. At the end of the reading when everyone left, they wasn’t a soul that didn’t come and offer Torres their congratulations in the form of hugs, words of praise, and offers of beer.
He’s had my beer, my hugs, my congratulations, and now he has my praise: Pomona may already have its queen, but now it has it’s king — Michael Torres
Review by Michaelsun Knapp