Jean Valentine, the New York State Poet, did a seminar & reading for the New York State Writers Institute on November 16. The afternoon seminar was held in the Standish Room of the Science Library Building at the University at Albany (NY). The largely informal gathering of mostly students, with a gathering of local community poets & some faculty, was conducted by Edward Schwartzchild & Tomas Noel from the English Department.
A young student asked Ms. Valentine what poets she would recommend to someone just starting to read poetry & the list included Lorine Niedecker, C.D. Wright, Emily Dickinson, Elisabeth Bishop & Gerard Manley Hopkins.
While I was reading Valentine's poems in the days before here visit, I was struck by how spare & elliptical they were, & indeed during the seminar she described how she would fill a page with words then take out the ones she "didn't need." But hearing Jean Valentine read her work often the connections were made by her tone & inflection aiding my understanding of the poems -- why we need to go to readings to hear our living poets read their work.