In 20 seconds, you can say a lot: You can recite a haiku. Or a rhymed couplet. Or a limerick. Or, if you talkreallyfastlikethis, maybe an entire sonnet.

 On Valentine's Day, you'll get your chance to show off. Rain Taxi Review of Books is sponsoring an open mic for any and all writers of love poems. Everyone gets 20 seconds to read. Twenty seconds! What have you got to lose?

Paper and pencils will be on hand for those who wait for last-minute inspiration. Cash bar will be on hand, too, for those who require liquid courage.

The event, called "Social/Brief: The Love Version," will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14, at the Cargill Lounge of the Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.

Featured readers include Lynette Reini-Grandell, Venus DeMars, William Waltz (who just won a big poetry prize--but don't be intimidated!), James Lenfestey, and five others, but the nine poets together will only take up about three minutes of the hour, leaving lots and lots of time for you.

Well, technically, leaving 20 seconds for you. But lots of time for everyone.

Rain Taxi launched its first "Social/Brief" last fall at the Twin Cities Book Festival, where it resulted in much hilarity ("People were just cracking up," said editor Eric Lorberer). They now have plans to hold several of these throughout the year.

Added bonus for this one: The Walker is currently running its Cindy Sherman exhibit, and anyone who shows up on Valentine's Day is invited to write a Valentine to her. The Walker will make sure she gets it.

Love love love. (Which takes only 1.5 seconds to say.)


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