This was a special Holiday reading held at Perfect Blend Coffee House at the Four Corners in Delmar. It was sponsored by the Hudson Valley Writers Guild & was coordinated by the Guild's new 2-headed President, Carolee Sherwood & Jill Crammond Wickham. Each reader was asked to read a Holiday-theme poem by a poet other than themselves & one of their own. This made for an eclectic mix that held everyone's attention. Carolee did the intros, with bits from pop culture sprinkled in between the poets, like decorative red & green sugars, including Sally's Xmas list from the Charlie Brown series, & quotes from the Girswalds.
The first poet was Steve Trimm who read Robert Frost's "Good Hours," then his own poem about being at Frost's grave. Rod Aldrich bravely read a poem in Irish by Sean O'Reardon about women's Christmas in Ireland, then the English translation & his own "Christmas Eve at the Peace Pagoda."
Jan Tramontano said she has been writing a series of poems on "qualities" & read to us her piece on Compassion (a quality for all seasons), then a poem by Hafiz. Cecele Krause began with Dorianne Laux's "Cello," & read her own villanelle, "For Dinner with Friends." As I did at the recent Third Thursday open mic, I read Enid Dame's "Holiday Poem" ("We don't need the solace of bought objects/We need each other's light.") & my poem "Christmas Eve, 1945."
Mary McCarthy read a poem by the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, "The Place Where We Are Right;" her own poem was a list of her holiday preparations & resolves, including trying not to eat chocolate, or, at least, not too much, or... It's rare that anyone reads Alfred Lord Tennyson at open mics, but Mimi Moriarty did, his "I Stood on a Tower," then her own childhood memory, "Waiting for Santa."
Bob Sharkey combined Edna St. Vincent Millay's "To Jesus on His Birthday" with his poem about being caught in a "Blizzard" while out shopping in Maine. Jill Crammond Wickham read William Carlos Williams' "Winter Trees" then told us she wasn't going to read her "June Cleaver winter poem" because she didn't bring it & her husband couldn't find it -- we will have to wait.
Carolee Sherwood brought the afternoon to an end with her New Years resolutions poem, "Metamorphosis," & the happy ending of the great "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
A grand & most pleasant afternoon of poems, friends, warm drinks. Congratulations to the new President(s) of the HVWG for putting together a wonderful Holiday program -- it could be the start of a new holiday tradition.
For a gallery of photos from the reading visit my Flickr! site.