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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Teasing Tastes of Superior Poetry

Angela Williams, Mary Ann Samyn, Joy Gaines-Friedler, David James, Dennis Hinrichsen, Patricia Clark, Linda Nemec Foster, Keith Taylor, Anne-Marie Oomen

 Alison Swan, D. R. James, Teresa Scollon, Bill Olsen.

“I recall the lifeboat, wooden on a wooden rack, paint peeling/there, for so many years behind the foredunes,/miles from any road....”
- Alison Swan, “Lifeboat”

“I’m on a writing retreat, see—complete with/balmy breezes and solitude, convinced the word/connotes respite, relaxation, and introspection—“
-      D. R. James, “On the Eve of My 35th Year of Teaching”

“Here in our town on July Fourth, it was good/ for us to see you. It was good for you to hear us/calling to you.”
-      Teresa Scollon, July Fourth

“They don’t know the summers are getting longer./They have no idea. They can’t even imagine us.”
- William Olsen, “Leafdom”

“How many moonfish would the river hold/if you squeezed the banks together for an instant?”
- Angela Knauer Williams, “Almost Savages”

“Once I was a little girl who tried to write it./Now I do twenty years’ worth of looking every afternoon.”
-      Mary Ann Samyn, “My Life in Heaven”

“What have the suburbs to offer me now?/
The city feels comfortable in my hand./
Like a found rock.”
-      Joy Gaines-Friedler, “Detroit”

“The man waits for spring when he hopes to reassemble for another year, to piece himself together with what’s left from the bitter winter months.”
-      David L. James, “His 53rd Autumn in Michign”

“Fraudulent river, how can/
I believe anything you/
-      Dennis Hinrichsen, “Drown”

“How can I go down to the river,/
nudge the car into my usual spot/
and walk?”
-      Patricia Clark, “Missing”

“Look at this landscape, the place/
that takes nothing for granted./
The sun rises like a sleepy, swollen eye....”
-      Linda Nemec Foster, “Copper Harbor: Early October”

“You’ll hear a hermit thrush/
calling, hidden in the pines/or in a cedar swamp....”
-      Keith Taylor, “Directions to North Fishtail Bay”

“She dreads the starved waifs in the milking barn,/cold mewing on her back step,/snarling dead run for house scraps/when all their mouse hunting is done....”
-      Anne-Marie Oomen, “Good”

These are the thirteen poets who were with us in the bookstore on Friday evening, June 13, reading their poems from the beautiful book, Poetry in Michigan, Michigan in Poetry. Each poet also read another piece from the book by a poet unable to be with us. What you have here, from me, are the merest tastes, a few words to stimulate you to want more of the excellent writing offered in this book. And there is visual art, also -- paintings and photographs and lithographs by Michigan artists in full-color, full-page reproductions.

I should probably apologize to the poets for my amateur, candid shots, taken from a back corner of the room with a zoom lens while they were reading, but it's important for me to show readers far from Northport that we did have live poets on site, thirteen of them in one room, reading to a packed, SRO house. 

What struck me as each poet read the work of an absent colleague was that he or she read the other's work as carefully and beautiful as his or her own poem. 

The afterglow of the celebratory evening continues for me, and I am still overwhelmed by the generosity of poets.


Dawn said...

Wow. Just wow. To have so many right there, together in one room and to hear them read. If a person wasn't into poetry when they walked in, I bet they have a new appreciation after. Wonderful.

P. J. Grath said...

There were a lot of shivers and many moments of holding breath. Each so different, all so on-target. For me, I'm sure it will be, as I look back, a once-in-my-lifetime event. 'Wow' pretty well expresses what I feel, Dawn.

Kathy said...

I can feel the afterglow in the way you shared about the poets in this post, Pamela. I have only been to one or two poetry readings, but would like to attend more some time.

P. J. Grath said...

Going to readings by Diane Seuss and John Woods in Kalamazoo (long ago!) both reinforced my love of poetry and showed me that I needed to promote poets rather than try to be one myself.