Tag Archives: Stephen Corey

Bridgewater International Poetry Festival: Day Two

The festival opened up a bit today with some great informal post-reading discussions. Poet Susan Facknitz closed up the morning readings and in the time remaining helped lead and facilitate a wide-ranging discussion on the role of poetry and its possibilities in the age of internet memes and the 140-character tweet. After Stephen Corey’s talk about making every line count, he found himself in much the same facilitator’s role, as the gathering of poets seemed intent on continuing the early round-table of topics. I think all the different readers and different styles naturally cooked up some of these questions, and both Ms. Facknitz and Mr. Corey were more than up to the task of guiding these talks.

The “international” element was in power mode–

  • the morning opened up with Skype coverage from India of Susil Mandal and Indranil Acharya;
  • Filipino-American poet Patsy Asuncion read with energy, depth and passion in the morning down in the Eagle’s Nest, followed immediately by
  • Ukrainian-American Nicole Yurcaba, who read poems from her forthcoming book which focused on her her family’s history in the Ukraine and America. Both of these poets projected the authentic presence of their work in a way that was utterly personable and perspective-shifting for those in the audience.

After lunch, we were treated to a reading by Albert Russo, calling in from Paris, France.

Definitely a bracing and exciting day. And by definition in a festival packed with concurrent readings, I missed half of the events of the day! including a writer’s workshop held later in the evening by Aimee Suzara, who contributed to both of the aforementioned discussions about a minute after arriving at the college, after her flight from Oakland, CA. Whew! For those of you who saw some of the other poets, please feel free to comment on your experience. I have heard that each of the readings was captured on video, and I hope this will give us the opportunity to view the writers whose readings we missed in person.

Tomorrow I’ll be missing the morning due to engagements with an entity called Family. Among the poets I’ll miss is Angela Carter, one of my favorite Virginia poets and a great presence at our local group’s monthly meetings. Lucky for me, the afternoon of Day Three looks to be packed with quite a few poets I’m looking forward to meeting, several of whom you’ll find on the Bridgewater “Meet the Poets” page on this site.

 

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…