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West Chester Blog: Friday June 10

Posted 06-10-2011 at 07:09 AM by Catherine Chandler
Hello again. Since Quincy hijacked my thread on the Staff forum, I decided to post to my blog instead.

Hello again! Yesterday I heard Micheal O'Siadhail at the "Poets' Landscapes & Sense of Place" panel read one of the most beautiful poems of place I have ever heard, "October" by Patrick Kavanagh. Hope someone can find a link and post it. He spoke about parochial vs. provincial place posme, and read three of his own cityscapes - on Dublin, London and new York. Rhina chaired, and we also heard Gardner McFall (who grew up in a military family, moving from place to place until her dad was shot down in Viet Nam) read several poems from her 2 books.

The Robert Pinsky town hall meeting (Dana Gioia interviewing) was a real treat, Pinsky speaking at length about his childhoold, lots of great anecdotes, especially how he felt he had carried the music pf poetry and the magic of words around with him until the "fateful day" he read "Sailing to Byzantium" for the first time and then he knew.

There were interesting readings by participants, followed by my first of three master classes with Alicia Stallings. Our objective is to take poems we consider "keepers" or "finished" and improve on them through slight but vital adjustments. She emphasized the importance of the "tack", that is, how a poem begins, how one comes into a poem out of silence; the importance of the "I" and of the vernacular, which she feels is sometimes pooh-poohed; how modifiers must come under close scrutiny and how the diction of our "written selves" can easily become stilted or bland. We compared an early draft of Frost's "Design" with his final version and discussed quite a few other poems as well. In the class (besides me) are Lisa Barnett, Allen Tice, Michael Cantor, Amit Majmudar, David Katz, Robert Abbate, Scott Miller, Burt Myers, and peter Coghill (I bought Peter's "Rockclimber's Hands" and I urge Sphereans to get a copy if they can).

After class I attended the panel on Romare Bearden with David Yezzi chairing. Also on the panel were Howard Dodson, Russell Goings and André Thibault (Teabo), who gave a beautiful and touching slide presentation on his years as Bearden's assistant (Bearden's final years as he was battling bone cancer). Then we all walked over to Mitchell Hall for the centennial exhibit of Bearden's collages (and watercolors) entitled "The Complete Odyssey". After dinner, faculty readings by Timothy Steele, Allison Joseph, Dick Daviss, Molly Peacock, David mason and Kim Addonizio.

Today's roster includes the Mezzo Cammin 5th Anniversary reading with Kim Bridgford, Rhina Espaillat, Julie Kane, Leslie Monsour, Anabelle Moseley and Marly Youmans.

There will be a reading of psalm 139 by friends of Wil Mills (who is gravely ill) by Dick Davis, Leslie Monsour, Timothy Steele and Catherine Tufariello, followed by a panel on the progress of English prosody by Dana Gioia, Thomas Cable, R.S. Gwynn, David Rothman and Timothy Steele. Then master class, day 2; the Richard Wilbur 90th birthday celebration and birthday party at Alumni House; more faculty readings, tonight by Rafael Campo, Terri Witek, Micheal O'Siadhail, Rhina Espaillat, Alicia Stallings and Dana Gioia.

Finally a poolside reception.

Warm regards,
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    Hi, Cathy. Excellent round-up of the program so far. Are we exhausted, or what?? I'll be looking for you today (Saturday) to autograph my copy of your Lines of Flight, and looking forward to the Able Muse panel discussion.

    Finally the rain has arrived. Bringing an umbrella was a good idea.

    Barbara Loots
    Posted 06-11-2011 at 05:41 AM by Barbara Loots Barbara Loots is offline
    Updated 06-11-2011 at 05:44 AM by Barbara Loots

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