July 11, 2011

Poets in the Park, July 9

This event is sponsored by the Poetry Motel Foundation (me) & the Hudson Valley Writers Guild (I'm the President), & I'm the MC, so what do you expect me say about this? Is there someone else out there to write a report on how much fun it was?

The readers were 2 "Daniels" -- Danielle D. Colin Charlestin & Daniel Nester -- 'though as someone pointed out from the audience, there were 3 Daniels present, counting me. But enough of me.

I had first seen Danielle D. Colin Charlestin at some of the area open mics & was impressed by the power of her words & performance. She didn't disappoint tonight. She started with a couple of short poems, "Before Translation" & a piece she had performed at WordFest, "God in the Rain." The next couple of poems were about urban experiences, "On the Corner of Washington & Swan," a portrait of a woman whose life is "singing the Blues like Bessie Smith," & another poem about a poet she met on a bus. Then a cluster of poems about Haiti; I didn't always get the Creole titles. The first was written after a visit after the earthquake, in which she stepped away from the mic to sway & sing & clap. The next poem was about a river & watching chlldren swim, from her first visit to Haiti. Then the tender & expansive celebration in "Haiti I Never Left You," like an anthem to the land & its people. A simple, funny haiku was all that was left.

Daniel Nester (author of the collection, How to Be Inappropriate) was a change of pace, more in style & content than in feeling. He began with what he described as "the third poem I published," the account of finding an embarrassing childhood photo in the bottom of "The Ceramic Apple," then a piece on failed childhood musicianship, "Trombonliness." He read a group of short vignettes from a series he is writing about the people he knew living in Camden, NJ -- on music, smoking dope, weird characters smoking dope, & on smoking dope. Another series that he read selections from was the hilarious "Anatomy of my Mother," based on interviews with his mother, who basically raised him (quote/unquote). He ended with a poem based on the Biblical Proverbs, but I must've gotten the reference wrong; oh well, perhaps he just made it up, that's what poets do.

Anyways, if think this report is too glowing, just ask any one who was there & see what they tell you.

The readings are held at the Robert Burns statue in Washington Park on Saturdays in July at 7PM. Get there on time to hear the history of the reading series, the life of Robert Burns & the history of Washington Park since the pre-Cambrian age (or thereabouts).

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