September 25, 2010

Jay Rogoff, Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, September 21

I've heard poet Jay Rogoff read a number of times & he's been the featured poet at my Third Thursday Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center. I enjoy his poetry & hearing him read, relaxed & always with good humor. Tonight he was able to stretch out with a nearly hour program as part of the annual series of the Adirondack Center for Writing. He was introduced by Mary Kathryn Jablonski, herself a fine poet I've heard read in this very setting, & elsewhere.

Jay was able to range far & wide among his published books, as well as his pending The Code of Terpsichore. He framed his selections with poems from a recently published, Twenty Danse Macabre (Spring Garden Press), a lovely produced letter-press chapbook. These are sonnets, some grim some humorous. He also read from The Long Fault (2008) the crowd-pleaser "The Guy Who Passed Me Doing 90 MPH and Playing the Trumpet" (which is in alcaics as he pointed out), but also a couple I haven't heard him read from this collection, including the haunting villanelle "Absorption". A few poems from The Cutoff (1995), then from the manuscript of the forthcoming The Code of Terpsichore. These are poems having to do with the poet's involvement (in reality, in fantasy, in dream) with the world of dance (Terpsichore is the ancient Greek goddess of Dance), combining dance, art & even sex -- what could be better. He included a couple of "very old poems" before ending with more from Twenty Danse Macabre. In the middle he stopped briefly for questions, which I found to be an effective way to give the audience "a break" without losing them. But then who would ever leave early from a Jay Rogoff reading?

The Adirondack Center for Writing does most of its programming in the North Country (they are headquartered at Paul Smith's College), but includes an occasional reading such as this in Saratoga Springs, for which I am grateful. I'm sure we can expect more readings from Jay Rogoff in 2011 when his new book comes out -- don't miss him.

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