Markham House: Saturday, July 14, 2012

We crowded into the Markham House parlor, almost a full house.  More chairs came in from the room next door. Thirteen can be the luckiest of numbers.  Thirteen poets inaugurated the new Poets@Play that Dennis Noren and Jerry Dyer lead. The “new voice” poems brought by each poet had us listening and learning. Most of us hadn’t read poems by these new writers. We’ll be at the bookstore or Amazon following up.

Renee Schell was the first introducer with copies of poems for us from the pen of Maura Stanton.  Renee read “By the Sea” from the Atlantic and gave us two more to read on our own. Here’s a poet I’d never heard of, but on the internet in an interview with Stanton, she says: “Imagination is for me the most vital element in poetry and prose, and that comes out of reverie.”  One of the participants said pretty much the same, wanting to have access to the Markham House to meditate and write. “We should use our center much more” was one strong message for the day.

Other poets introduced or mentioned were Eric Paul Shaffer, Jean Lin, Al Baker, Jane Kenyon, Daniel Mark Epstein, Joanne Kyger, Lew Welch, Tsering Wangmo Dhompa, James Ragan, Lawson Fusao Inada, and Shel Silverstein.  What discussions came out that! Jazz, the Black Mountain poets, the “Beats.”  Knowledgeable participants will be asked to lend us some of what they know at future get-togethers.

Most of the participants reported on their reactions to the afternoon. Some of the quotes:  “…a great sense of creative community. I finished my week with a happy glow.”  “..surely enjoyed the sharing and smaller size of the playgroup.  Less intimidating for newbies  to open their mouths.”  “…a rewarding afternoon.  I really liked the idea of bringing poems from poets some of us haven’t read.”  “Thank you, everyone, for such a wholesome coming-together!  I’m still glowing.”  “A great day of poetry camaraderie all round.”  And many more quotes; we are still floating.

What an opportunity Poets@Play is!  Writers “need to hear and answer the calls and songs of our fellow artists.  Every poem we write is an homage to the poets we’ve read.”  Jeffrey Levine from Tupelo Press wrote this, and Jerry Dyer’s idea has given us the chance to meet and hear new poets’ songs.

The next Poets@Play is on August 12, a Sunday, at 1:00 p.m.  See you at the Markham House for another rousing round of poetry.