Tag Archives: Stan Galloway

Bridgewater International Poetry Festival: Day One

Well, Day One is in the books and even at half a day it was a whirlwind of readings and meeting lots of fine people dedicated to the craft of writing and the art of poetry.  Festival Mastermind Stan Galloway, a professor of English at Bridgewater, has convened an eclectic group of poets here to this cozy college, and a roving gang of 18 student volunteers has helped support the festivities with tech help, directions, pizza and, of course, coffee.

Once the festival really got going, you are faced with two different reading locations, each hosting two poets an hour. I was paired with Jim Gaines, which was a good match as we were both working on translations as well as on our own work. Some other interesting or odd tidbits from Day One:

  • The first two poets, Stephen Corey and Pamela Uschuk, both read poems which included peonies in them. Strangely enough, one of the poems I read, directly after their reading, also included peonies. Wha?
  • Sirwan Kajjo, a Kurdish poet living in the DC area, read three poems in English and (on request) another in his native tongue (English being his third language!).
  • Matthew Hamilton has had so many lives — soldier, peace corps volunteer, benedictine monk, and librarian — that I had the surreal impression I was meeting someone who had just walked out of a Mark Helprin novel, who happens to be a darn good poet as well.
  • I missed as many good poets as I got a chance to see, but this is the trade-off of a festival like this. it’s invigorating and exhausting at the same time.

Emily Hancock of St Brigid’s Press, along with several other supporting literary establishments including the Georgia Review, whose editor Stephen Corey can be counted among the poets presenting their work, were present and selling their books. Although I forgot to mention this in my own reading today, three of my works are available at the St Brigid table — the broadside of the prose poem Drop Everything, a handsome broadside with moon-shaped matting of my translation of Li Ho’s Sky Dream, and the omnipresent haiku coaster sets.

I survived my own reading early in the afternoon with the help of a supportive audience. Twenty minutes can seem like an eternity or like the snap of a finger when you’re reading your work. If you’d like the silent virtual tour of what I read, you can follow the links below. On to Day Two!

Poem for the Back Cover of a Book

Self Portrait at Forty Nine

Fire Followers

Nobscusset Burial Ground, Dennis MA

On Translating a Poem from the Chinese

Two poems about the moon, one mentioning the moon six times and one not mentioning the moon at all

Mei Yao-ch’en and I Lament Missing the Lunar Eclipse…

Mei Yao-ch’en and I, Walking Downtown for Pizza on a May Afternoon…

…Mei Yao-ch’en and I Await Fourth of July Fireworks…


Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet Stan Galloway

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

Stan Galloway will be reading his poetry on  Thursday, January 15th, at 1:30pm.


Stan Galloway hosts the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival in alternate years. It is a global event in a small town atmosphere. He also writes poetry himself (which fuels his desire to meet all these outstanding poets). Here is an early poem which can be found in Scratching Against the Fabric, an anthology of poems from the last poetry festival, and scheduled for release next week.


Failed Romance

The little boy offers his best fire truck
and invites her to the box
while she sees the castles that he
has not built and the prince who
has not ridden to the rescue.
He says he likes the way she shows the
ribbon in her hair, meaning he likes
the way she shows the ribbon in her hair,
while she hears the one-tenth
surface to a nine-tenths depth he
won’t reveal.
He reaches out to tie the shoe
string that falls loose and she
begins to list the hundred other
broken things he’s failed to see, thinking
love and entropy are opposites.
He drives his cars around her,
happy that she chose to squat with him
for a time, and she wonders
why he needs her there while
he does his own thing oblivious.
Then she begins to talk and talk and he
turns his ear to her and finally says,
again, he likes the ribbon and
she turns away and leaves the box
to the shallow boy
with the one-track mind.

Readings: Bridgewater International Poetry Festival (1/15, 1:30 pm)

January 15th-18th I’ll be one of a group of several dozen poets reading at Bridgewater College, just up the road from me in Bridgewater, Virginia, as part of the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival.

The festival pairs poets, who each read for 20 minutes, and then answer questions from the festival attendees for another 20 minutes. The poetry festival is the brainchild of fellow Virginia poet Stan Galloway, a professor of English at the college. My slot comes on the first day of the festival at 1:30 pm. The most up-to-date version of the schedule can be found at the link above.

The writing of poetry is a solitary type of thing, as we all know, and I’m looking forward to meeting with so many poets from different backgrounds and different parts of the world.

My plan is to split my 20 minutes between a selection of poems from the Mei Yao-ch’en sequence and a group of poems from the non-Mei output of the last year or so, all of which is on this blog. So here’s your chance to use your social media savvy to become an “influencer” and let me know if there’s a poem you want me to read on the 15th. I might even record a few as a way of practicing, and try to create some audio files to share. A few poets I know have done something similar, and I have always enjoyed hearing a poem read by its author. So go ahead, be a disruptive influencer of poetry, and let me know what you want to hear.

Attendees to the festival can buy one-day or full festival passes. So, fellow WP writers, if you happen to be driving down Route 81 sometime in the middle of January, feel free to swing on by and say hello. Leonard, I know you can make it for this, right–isn’t there a Greyhound from Turkey to Bridgewater? Dana? RobertEsther? Come on, now. Being on the other side of the world is no excuse! O C, I do not consider attendance optional. This is one of the issues with WordPress–being merely a digital poem’s throw from a bunch of writers doesn’t mean they can meet you for coffee.  What about you, Ann? Anthony? Ron? Gunmetal Geisha, you on my side of the continent this month? Ah, well.

Besides my regular reading gig at the local writers’ open reading here in Staunton on the second Wednesday of every month, I also have a reading scheduled for National Poetry Month in April–I think that’s at the Massanutten Library, in the heart of the Blue Ridge mountains, and will have more information on that soon as well.

In other news: Over the next few weeks I’ll begin to design and format the collection of Mei Yao-ch’en poems, as well as a collection of other poems written in the past year, tentatively entitled The Drift.  I may post new poems in this time, and may post some work from my previous books, which have not been posted on this site yet. I hope everyone’s new year is off to a good start!




Translation talk at Black Swan Books


I will be checking out this rather cool topic in my rather cool and little city this weekend. Angela Carter and Stan Galloway are area poets whose work I have enjoyed hearing in person.

Printer extraordinaire Emily Hancock of St Brigid Press will also be bringing copies of the mini-broadside of my translation of Li Ho’s “Sky Dream” for the event. I will not be selling this myself and I’m not sure if Emily has it for sale yet on her site, but you can always write her if you’re interested in seeing more. The poem is printed on very thin Unryu paper backed by grey Magnani Pescia paper, in Bembo typeface. The matting creates the shape of the moon which of course our poet Li would not bother to name in his brilliant and strange piece of verse, and will I think be available in a variety of night-sky-ish colors.

I believe St Brigid Press will also be issuing this poem’s companion translation of Li Po’s work, as well as a few other translations of classical Chinese verse. And of course as I attend this event I’ll be taking with me my time-travelling version of Mei Yao-ch’en, the great 11th century poet with whom I have spent so much time these last few months…