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Old 05-16-2002, 11:14 PM
Terese Coe Terese Coe is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 7,377

It was more than just a reading at the Roehrich Museum: it was the award ceremony for the Poets Prize 2002, which Robert Mezey received for his Collected Poems, so there were little award speeches by The Poets Prize Committee, including Robert Phillips and Sam Gwynn. Honorable Mentions were Wyatt Prunty and Richard Wilbur for their books, Unarmed and Dangerous and Mayflies, respectively.

Mezey's award was $3,000, entirely made up of funds contributed by other poets! Apparently it's the only poetry prize of this nature. Among the poems he read were "Joe Simpson," "Here's to Lizzie D.," "Tea Dance at the Nautilus Hotel 1925, "The Roadside Epitaph," and a Catullus translation, "Carmina." Boffo performance in spite of a difficult sound system.

Another one, "A Note She Might Have Left," was a poem found in an attic after not having been seen for about 40 years; it was in the original typescript for his first book, but hadn't been included and he said he had forgotten he'd written it! Indeed he had no recollection whatsoever of the woman for whom he'd evidently written it...But then, this in itself is memorable! This poem was noticeably more impassioned than the others, although perhaps it was just more youthful (hm, is that a tautology?).

Fun event, and Roger Slater and his wife attended as well, as did Catherine Tufariello. Reception followed. The Roehrich Museum has an incredible collection of art by Nicholas Roehrich, most on themes of Tibet, as well as Tibetan sculpture: this was the backdrop for the ceremony. I'll have to revisit the magnificent 19th-Century building to see the art that was obstructed by wall-to-wall poets!

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Old 05-17-2002, 11:52 AM
epigone epigone is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Valparaiso, Indiana
Posts: 878

I wish there were some way for this prize to receive the press it deserves. It really is an extraordinary event, for the reasons given by Terese above. While the Roehrich Museum is a cozy setting (although for my tastes the paintings are far too busy for the space, or perhaps any space), I wish that the annual award of the Poets Prize could attract the sort of attention and attendance that would necessitate a larger forum (and perhaps more comfortable chairs).

In any case, I very much enjoyed the readings last night, and the audience, although small, contained a remarkably high concentration of poetical talents. In addition to those named by Terese, I also spotted Charles Martin, a translator who need not blush when named in the company of the likes of Robert Mezey, and Joshua Mehigan, whose poems I greatly admire but all too rarely see in print.
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Old 05-17-2002, 11:46 PM
Josh Josh is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 9

It was indeed quite an event. And of course, as the preceding post makes clear, Epigone (the humble, well-known, and underappreciated Carolyn Forche parodist) was there as well.
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