November 21, 2019
HVWG Poetry Contest Winners Reading, November 16
& annual members’ meeting held at the Albany Public Library, Washington Ave. branch. When I saw the list of winners & “Honorable Mentions” I was pleased to see the names of poets with whose work I was familiar, others who I knew by name but was not familiar with their work, even one whose name was new to me — & found out I had heard her work many years ago.
The reading, & meeting, was moderated by HVWG president Faith Green. Each reader read their honored poem & 3 or 4 others, giving us a brief look at their work.
At this point there was a short break to peruse the book-swap table & buy raffle tickets, then the drawing for the 3 prizes. I won a HVWG tote bag with an eclectic bunch of books — a novel, poetry, some non-fiction, including a wonderful translation of the Tao Te Ching by Prof. Victor Mair, who my daughter Madeleine studied under at UPenn.
The final reader was the 1st place winner Paul Lamar. Although I knew his name from various arts & literary contexts, including a series of workshops & talks on Albany history, I had never met him or heard his poetry. He said his reading was about “people who were important to me,” including his mother whom he wrote about in the winning poem “Eulogy.” Others were a friend from 4th grade, “My Luck,” a time of discovery about who he really was, in a similar vein “An Apology to my Clarinet Teacher,” & a couple of poems referencing time spent with his granddaughter “Opus 90, Early Morning” (with a nod to Brahms), & “The Arborist." Perhaps we can coax him out to an open mic sometime.
In addition to the marvelous reading there was a brief meeting, with a membership report, treasurer’s report, & an appeal for folks to join the Board to keep the Guild’s work going. For more information about the Guild visit the website www.hvwg.org.