Art Beat: Getting Serious, Sometimes

Dec 5, 2019

Kurt Luchs
Credit Courtesy Kurt Luchs

Kurt Luchs has a ready laugh. The moment you think he’s serious, he’s not. For much of his life, Luchs has written comedy and humor for TV, radio, and in books. But then he decided to get serious, and and the humor writer became a poet.

Luchs’ books include the humorous collection of short prose, It’s Funny Until Someone Loses an Eye (Then It’s Really Funny) (Sagging Meniscus Press, 2017), and a new poetry chapbook, One of These Things Is Not Like the Other (Finishing Line Press, 2019).

“I spent a long time doing humor,” Luchs says. “At different times, I made my living from it. I’m in the radio business now but I came into radio as a comedy writer, not as a manager. I was raised to love both humor and poetry. I started out as a poet, as a teenager, and was getting into some good magazines and enjoying it. And then I got bit by the comedy writing bug. I wrote for The Onion about 20 years. I published stuff in The New Yorker and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and I ran a literary humor site up until about a month ago, The Big Jewel. I’m serious about being serious now.”

Credit Finishing Line Press

Luchs says, at some point, he felt that he wanted to circle back to poetry because it felt like unfinished business. And he was “burning out” on humor, something he says is an unforgiving and demanding business.

“Everything is a joke,” he says. “A follow-up to the joke. A set-up to the next joke. And then finally ending with some joke that tops them all and ties it all together.”

Kurt Luchs will read from his poetry book along with some newer, still unpublished poems, on Wednesday, December 11, at 6 p.m. at Michigan News Agency in downtown Kalamazoo. He will be reading together with Grand Rapids poet Tim Hawkins. They will also sign books and answer audience questions.

Asked about the reading, Luchs warns: “There will be violence,” then bursts into laughter. It’s hard to keep the humorist down.

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