November 26, 2010

Community of Writers, November 21

This was the 8th annual event at the Schenectady County Public Library, sponsored by the Hudson Valley Writers Guild. (Full disclosure: I've just been elected President of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild.) The event began & ended with book signings & sales by some of the afternoon's readers, & a chance for the audience to mingle.

The readers were a mix of poets, novelists & essayists, & began with Schenectady County's own Poet Laureate, Steve Hellyard Swartz reading a couple of breezy, chatty pieces, somehow mixing in Jackson Pollack & Dick Cheney in the same poem.

Margaret Bryant, who has been frequenting local open mics, was next with a reading of a selection of poems from her recently published chapbook, Aligning Stems (The Troy Book Makers), with a bit of a brogue slipping in during "Kate's Farewell."

The youngest reader, & newest to the area, Keziah Roselin, read a touching memoir piece about being in the airport as she left her family in Miami to move to this area.

Kathe Kokolias read an amusing piece about trying to celebrate Thanksgiving Day while in Mexico, from her forthcoming selection of memoir essays, What Time Do the Crocodiles Come Out? (The Troy Book Makers)

Tom Corrado read a string of his poems, the audience amused by the leaps of his lines, especially the homage to Schenectady in "A High of 51."

Rose Kent writes young adult fiction & children's novels, including Kimchi & Calamari (Harper Collins) & Rocky Road (Knopf Books), which she read a chapter from, introducing it with the story of the invention of the ice-cream flavor Rocky Road in the 1930s.

Nancy Denofio read from her collection of poems, What Brought You Here? (Limited Editions Press), then some memoirs of her family from the ongoing work she is doing with her father, the former Mayor of Schenectady, Frank Duci, on his memoir.

Mark Renson is one of the owners of the Jay St. restaurant, Ambition. He turned his experience there into a series of amusing vignettes published as Is the Coffee Fresh? from which he read a selection.

Dean M. DeLuke used his own experience as an oral & maxillofacial surgeon doing volunteer work in the islands as background for his novel Shedrow, a thriller described as a cross between Dick Francis & Robin Cook.

It was a good mix of genres & styles, representing the diversity of talent here in the Capital Region. While a couple of the readers tended to go a little long, the afternoon readings were well-presented & the audience reacted well to the material. Thanks to Catherine Norr & Alan Catlin of the Guild with the assistance of staff from the Schenectady County Public Library for putting this together.

A slide show of the readers can be viewed at the Guild's website.

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