November 19, 2007

A Community of Writers, November 18

This is part of an annual series sponsored by the Hudson Valley Writers Guild, with this event at the Schenectady County Public Library sponsored by the Library, the Hamilton Hill Arts Center, Electric City Poetry Productions, and the Friends of Schenectady County Public Library. The program was moderated by Miki Conn from the Hamilton Hill Arts Center, who you could barely see over the top of the big podium the Library likes to use for such events.

Ron Pavoldi is a poet associated with the Voorheesville group, Every Other Thursday Night Poets (see a link to their website at the bottom). His poems were colloquial stories of friends & family members. Kelly de la Rocha read an essay about her "mission trip" to Guatemala delivering medicine & care to the people, then a poem "After the Storm" about a similar trip to Biloxi, Mississippi. She also had photos on display from those trips that she was selling to raise money for the missions there.

Karen Guzzardi-James had read at some area open mics in the past; her poems, mostly rhymed, were about romantic love & it's pain & disappointments, as well as a touching poem about her love for her young daughter, who was in the audience. David Kaczynski is well-known in the area as the Director of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty. He introduced his poems by stating that he was attempting "to rehabilitate abstraction ... to write the perfect abstract poem." But his work demonstrated that poetry demands, needs, rides on the wheels of images -- "no idea but in things," to quote the good Doctor.

For the last 3 years at least the Hamilton Hills Arts Center has been on the Community of Writers program, & for the last 3 years at least they have largely been represented by no-shows. Even with Miki Conn being the moderator & bragging about how everyone at the Center was "creative", the only reader from the Center to show up, & he only read one poem, was Tosh Majors; Miki filled out the space by reading from A.A. Milne (didn't know he was at the Center). Maybe the problem is that, unlike the other readers who are each listed individually, the Center is on the program as "Representatives from Hamilton Hill Arts Center." Maybe the members would be more encouraged to show up if their individual names were listed. Maybe next year.

Peter Heinegg was introduced as a professor from Union College with a string of articles & books but what he read were 2 amusing anti-religion poems, "God doggerels," that in their clever rhymes & short lines reminded me of similar themes in William Blake. Rosalyn R. Sollecito read a pleasantly written essay about the service of women during World War II.

Jennifer Wells' poems dealt with social issues such as AIDS & social inequality. Bill Poppino had 3 poems that sounded like prose essays, on motorcycles, border patrol & the early years of aviation.

The program was taped for public access cable TV in Schenectady, so if you're in that cable area you can watch it yourself (& send me any corrections).