Literary Event of the Week: Lyric World at Town Hall Seattle

“I wanted to curate a series that could really focus on the social role of poetry rather than just having poets in to read from their most current work,” Shin Yu Pai told me about her brand-new series Lyric World, which debuts on Thursday at Town Hall with help from KUOW.

Each event brings poets and performers together to read work and join in conversation on a pre-ordained topic. The launch event is all about wonder, and Pai has assembled a hell of a lineup.

Poet and magician (!) Thomas Pruiksma will be in conversation with poet Melanie Noel, who explores the breadth and limitations of sensory experiences in her work. It's genius of Pai to combine a poet who spends a fair amount of time convincing audiences to ignore the evidence right in front of them with one who is so dedicated to the reality of sense.

At the beginning of the evening, kora player and griot-trained jeli Ibrahim Arsalan will perform muscin on the theme as well. I suck at describing music, so here's a tiny taste of what Arsalan's kora playing sounds like:

See? That feeling in your chest right now is wonder. It all makes sense.

Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave., 652-4255,, 7:30 pm, $10.