February 15, 2010

Half Moon Books Poetry Reading, February 6

On North Front Street in Kingston, NY, with our host Rebecca Schumejda.

Cheryl A. Rice read in celebration of her 30 years in the area, with memories of her youth on Long Island (2 sections from a long poem, "Cantata for Clams, Pines, Expressways"), then into poems about her life in the Hudson Valley.  She read tender musings on relationships, on food ("Italian Food Day"), on a gone Kingston classic fern bar & her ex-husband, even "Italian Food Day" in the city of Newburgh (also "Exit 17"), even on Sylvia Plath in "No Songs No Packages."

In contrast to Cheryl's multi-page remises, Howie Good's were poems short, grim, single-pagers.  He is a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz & author of many poetry chapbooks.  He started with "A Note on Craft" reading poetry in bed.  He included some inter-related prose poems from a series called "Pigs/Iron," dream-like narratives.  His poems frequently included sardonic humor, such as "RSVP", a list a dark excuses one can use, or the haiku like "Four Seasons".  There was a tender memorial for one of his students, "Songs without Words."  Some of his titles were like poems themselves, such as "Heart with a Dirty Windshield."

I had read once in this very same bookshop in its other incarnation with Pauline Uchmanowicz, who is also a professor at SUNY New Paltz.  But first her partner, Jim read a poem he had written in Chinese.  Her poems were tight, crafted works I can imagine her writing with a Thesaurus in one hand, so much so that she had to frequently define unusual words in the poems.  "Quarry Hill Road" described a rural setting with archaic words that also seemed out of place in a poem on a  beach in Massachusetts.  "Mechanical Drawing" drew us back to high school with word play on the terms of the trade, as did the poem "Quaternary."

Like a well made salad or casserole, the variety of tonight's poets & poems bounced different, contrasting & complementing flavors & textures off each other to leave me with a feeling of time well-spent.  Look for more fine readings at this venue.

1 comment:

Howie Good said...

thanks so much for the kind mention.