November 1, 2018

The Lace Mill Presents: A Celebration of Gerrit Lansing, October 20

Gerrit Lansing reading in Albany, October 1999
This was a revised-replay of the Birthday/Memorial celebration held for poet Gerrit Lansing on February 25 in Gloucester, MA, held this day at the Lace Mill Gallery in Kingston, NY with many of the same players as the Gloucester event. You can read about the February events for Gerrit on my Blog. Pierre Joris served as MC, with bassist Mike Bisio providing musical accompaniment for many of the readers.

The readers today were Tamas Panitz, Tomas Urayoán Noel, Nicole Peyrafitte, George Quasha, Pierre, Don Byrd, Chuck Stein, & Robert Kelly.

Photo by Peter Monaco
Nearly all the readers read a poem(s) by Gerrit, many reflected on the Gerrit they knew, & read poems they wrote in tribute. Gerrit’s poems were published in various editions that were variations on “Heavenly Tree …” “… Grows Downward,” … Soluble Forest,” with many of the same poems in each edition, with newer, different poems, much like Whitman’s changing editions of Leaves of Grass, the most recent & most complete being the 2009 North Atlantic Books Heavenly Tree, Northern Earth.

Tomas Urayoán Noel read Gerrit’s “Amazing Grace And A Salad Bowl,” written for the poet Stephen Jonas, then Tomas’ own improv in Spanish & English on the poem. Among the 4 poems of Gerrit's that Nicole Peyrafitte read was the compact “Song: the Autumn Festival” (that Willie Alexander has set to music) with the magic line “All things go underground with glee.”

Don Byrd did a mash up from “The Burden of Set” with his own tribute/meditation to Gerrit. Robert Kelly described the 2 kinds of teacher that was Gerrit & Gerrit’s theory on the Gateways of 7 in each of lives, that each 7 years a door opens to change, the next phase of our life. Chuck Stein was by far the longest with a rambling mix of his own & Gerrit’s poems.

Pierre & Nicole recorded each of the readers to you can experience it for yourself at Pierre’s Blog. & I have posted some of my photos from the event at my Flickr site.

It was a grand gathering of poets, both readers & in the audience, to pay tribute to the grand Gerrit Lansing whose work was magic on many levels.

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