Reading Recap & Poetry

Oh, the reading last night with Pat & Tim was just great. Tim was so genial & at ease as he read, his commentary spare, the verbal equivalent of white space on the page for me, gave his poems air to breathe. And Pat reads with this little smile on her face, like she can’t wait for us to hear what’s next, mischievous & delighted. And rightfully so: “roly-poly cross-eyed baby” indeed! I’ve been a fan of Pat’s poetry for a long time, but I never knew how funny she is!

After, we walked across the bridge to the West End Pub, who kindly feeds our poets each month, where we interspersed poetry conversation with movie talk. For the record: I know it was revolutionary when it was made, some men in my life consider it one of the best films ever, but “2001” is the most tedious & long-winded & self-indulgent film in creation, and could’ve begun & ended in 20 minutes to no ill-effect. Seriously.

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The March issue of Poetry came in the mail the other day. A new feature this month: after each selection of poems by a poet, there’s a Q & A with the poet regarding those poems. Interesting in theory, but I haven’t read it yet.

I’m actually happy that Poetry has expanded its prose section, even if sometimes the reviews feel more snarky than substantive. But I could do without the letters section. This month, a few folks wrote to disagree with Clive James’s piece on Ezra Pound from a previous issue– I enjoyed it, but I’m not a big Pound fan — and I thought they were very thoughtful responses. Then, there was the obligatory retort by James — and I was disappointed. I found his tone disrespectful and slightly offensive. Completely unnecessary and jarring after the considered quality of the letters.

Reviewers/Critics: unless there’s a point of fact to be made, resist the urge to respond to those who criticize you — let your piece stand as its own defense, it’s far better equipped for the job.

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That’s plenty of grandstanding for one evening. Get thee to Ross White’s for some lol poet hilarity!

Patricia Fargnoli.

When not getting exactly as he wishes, Vincent has taken to plaintively crying, “Honey, please. Please, Honey.” Honey? It’s very unsettling.

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Readers continue to discover this blog because of my bout with shingles. Also unsettling.

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I was paging through Pat’s newest book of poems, Duties of the Spirit (Tupelo Press, 2005.) wondering which would be the best introduction, the one most likely to beckon you to her reading. And then I did what I always forget to do when it’s a poet I’m familiar with — I read the very first poem in the book:

The Invitation

I have opened the doors
near the garden.
Why don’t you come into
the unfolding
of Japanese fans?
The peacocks are strolling
among the lobelia
for no one but you
in this place where
the impossible
is shaking
its bright turquoise feathers.
I have turned
off the radio,
washed purple and green grapes
for the pedestal table,
filled frosted goblets
with fresh well water.
Afterwards the bed,
its turned down silk.
What you have left behind
will forget you
soon enough.

Collected Poets Series.

It’s that time again: Patricia Fargnoli and Tim Mayo will read this Thursday night at Mocha Maya’s Coffee House in Shelburne Falls for the March installment of the Collected Poets Series.

Patricia Fargnoli is the current Poet Laureate of New Hampshire and the author of five collections of poetry. Her latest book Duties of the Spirit, (Tupelo Press, 2005) won the 2005 Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Poetry. Her first book, Necessary Light (Utah State University Press, 1999) was awarded the 1999 May Swenson Poetry Award judged by Mary Oliver. Pat, a retired social worker, has been the recipient of a MacDowell Colony fellowship. She is published widely in literary journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, North American Review, Mid-American Review, Cimarron Review, and The Massachusetts Review. She’s received the Robert Frost Foundation Poetry Award and has been twice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A member of the NH Writer’s Project and a Touring Artist for the NH Art’s Council, Pat resides in Walpole, NH.

You can read an excellent consideration of Duties of the Spirit at the Valparaiso Poetry Review.

Tim Mayo’s newest chapbook is The Loneliness of Dogs (Pudding House Press, 2008) He holds an ALB, cum laude, in French language and culture from Harvard University and an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College. He was a semi-finalist in the Discovery’s The Nation 2000 Poetry Contest, and in 2006 he received a Vermont Artist’s & Writer’s Grant from the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT. His full-length manuscript Dreaming of a Dependable Force was a finalist in the 2007 Main Street Rag Poetry Contest. He lives in Brattleboro, VT.

The CPS readings never fail to be great fun, so come early to get a seat!