Jane returned with a bouquet of her own poems (my problem with the Poetry Out Loud program is I’d rather hear what these high school kids are writing rather than a poem from a pre-selected, proscribed list from a "famous" poet) — “Flight” an poem of looking down & up, “Overpass” a love poem perhaps, “Captured” about a photographer & a bird, & a relationship poem “Plateau.” I hope to one day to have to buy her book of poems.
I was next, had prepared a reading that was a good variety of my poems, beginning with Bob Kaufman’s “Believe, Believe” then my poem/essay by the same name written for last year’s Poetry Unites program, then on to poems from the Scissortail Festival experience, “Oklahoma Sunday” & the recent “Didn’t We Do This in Saratoga?” A couple of political pieces, a couple of poems to promote recent chapbooks, “The Transit of Venus” just because I haven’t read it in a while & I like it, “Birthday Poem 2015” & ending with a poem for the season “What Passover Has Taught Me.” It’s always good to read here.
After our reading Bertha told an interesting anecdote about a phone call she had received from Burton Raffel, who had done a famous translation of Beowulf in the early 1960s. Bertha has done her own translation of Beowulf, a lovely letterpress edition with original artwork by Bertha published in 2000 by Birch Brook Press & she thought that was Raffel was calling about that, but instead he called about the readings, art exhibits & other literary/cultural work she makes happen at the Bright Hill Literary Center. & if you don’t know about it, & the Word Thursdays Reading Series, check it out at her website. In the photos you can see some of the artwork of the Iranian-American artist Roshan Houshmand, “Text & Context,” currently on view at the Center.