Another in the exciting series of readings by traveling & regional poets, organized by Rebecca Schumejda at Half Moon Books in Kingston. Tonight's lineup included a number of poets who have read here before.
But Dan Provost from Worcester, MA hadn't; I had crossed poetic paths with him a couple years ago at the Connecticut Beat Poetry Festival. His poems are clear, direct statements from a working class background, often dealing with bars, & violence; generally short poems, read fast. The title of "Do I Look Like I Want to Talk to You?" says it all, but the portrait of "Poor Candy" in a dive bar was poignant, as was the domestic violence of "Making a House a Home." The insomniac poem "Lights in Worcester" is a nocturnal portrait of his home town. He also read from the recent team-collection with Aleathia Drehmer, A Quiet Learning Curve (Rank Stranger Press, Mount Olive, NC), including "Blue Collar White Heat," & "I Was Dumped for a Warlock."
Poets in the Park in Albany, NY & published a couple of my poems in her tiny zine Durable Goods (#25). She also read a cluster of poems touching on domestic violence, & loss, from A Quiet Learning Curve -- a good pairing of poets. Aleathia has another chapbook out recently, You Find Me Everywhere (Propaganda Press, Palo Alto) from which she read a generous selection, including "The Seamless Gate" for Dan Provost, "He Wanted a Love Poem," & "Marquise & the Sliver Spoon," among others [I noted that this attractive little book contains a couple poems from her visit to Albany this summer, "The Poetry Motel" & the poem for Moses Kash III, "You Can't Let the Moment Pass You By"]. She ended with some poems still in manuscript, including "Reading Tea Leaves at Midnight" & the 1994 "In the End I Just Let It Go" recently revised, again demonstrating that poetry is a process.
FootHills Publishing). She then reverted to "the shopping bag method" of reading, clutching a bouquet of recent & older poems pulled up more or less at random, bearing titles like "Ghosts," or "Monday Morning," or "Insects." Or the abstractions "Imponderable," "Contingencies," "Space" & "History." Her mother's skill was detailed in "Spelling" & she celebrated the fidelity in "First" of 2 cardinals at her feeder. Roberta's poems are worth seeking out in her chapbooks & at the lucky readings where you can find her.
A wonderful gathering of poets collected by the poetry mother of the mid-Hudson, Rebecca Schumejda. Catch it when you can -- & buy books.