Michael Dickel, poet, photographer and co-editor of the international poetry anthology Voices Israel 2010 gave a reading from his poetry at the Robert & Dorothy Ludwig Schenectady Jewish Community Center in Niskayuna, NY on January 27, 2011. I had heard that Dr. Dickel would be visiting from Israel & in New York State on family business & arranged the reading under the co-sponsorship of the Poetry Motel Foundation & the Schenectady JCC. I also arranged for the fine local poet, Leslie B. Neustadt, to read with him.
Michael Dickel's reading was a nicely structured set of poems ranging from his growing up in Chicago & Minnesota to more recent poems about his current home in Israel. Many of the poems were in rural settings, "Across the Creek," "Ground Fog," "Tacit" (a cornfield), but "Blue Notes" took us into Chicago. He told us about the English language writing workshops in Israel from which the anthologies sprang, & read one of his poem from such a workshop, an untitled piece about his first visit to Israel, comparing it to his Mid-west home. The poems from Israel show a deeper wedding of landscape with history, such as "Oasis" echoing the Song of Songs, the re-telling of the biblical story of "Jacob Wrestling with the Angel," & the landscape poem, "As in a Dream I See a World that is Not There." The longer poems, "Crows" & "Forty-two Sacrifices" are both included in Voices Israel 2010 (as the winners in the 2009 Reuben Rose Competition). He brought us back with a recent poem about clearing out his father-in-law's house, then ended, appropriately, with "Sing this at the End."
Voices Israel is an annual anthology of international poetry; check out their website for more information. In fact I heard about Dr. Dickel's visit from an Albany poet, Pearse Murray, who has a poem in the 2010 edition. There's poetry everywhere, you just have to find it.