The two poets stop by the nonfiction reading series Freerange and think about genre, branding, and pigeonholing.
When Mira Ptacin, the founder and director of Freerange, started the reading series three years ago, she had the intention of bridging the gap between the genres. Now, entering its third year, Freerange has re-hatched—emerging from the shell as a brand new life-form: eager, brave and unabashed. Four readers read at the Freerange “Rebirth” Reading on May 4th at PianosNYC: Matthue Roth, Alison Espach, Koren Zalickas, and Michael Showalter.
In a new ongoing BOMB column, two poets head out on the town on a mission to map—and mine—the creative arts community of New York City, for inspiration, celebration, and collaboration, through parties, openings, readings, and more.
In this ongoing BOMB column, two poets head out on the town on a mission to map—and mine—the creative arts community of New York City, for inspiration, celebration, and collaboration, through parties, openings, readings, and more.
On May 18, Poets & Writers honored poet James Richardson with the 5th annual Jackson Poetry Prize, an award that recognizes an exceptional poet deserving of greater acknowledgment. This year the judges were Mark Doty, Rita Dove, and Gerald Stern. Arriving to the event at The Gabarron Foundation Carriage House Center for the Arts, known for building the cultural identity of Spain through its arts programs, was like finding a hidden treasure by the sidewalk. Inside, friends, colleagues, and past winners including Linda Gregg socialized by a photography exhibit featuring black and white prints of Latin America from 1924-2010.
Poet Maria Mazziotti Gillan, founder of the Paterson Literary Review, director of the creative writing program at Binghamton University, and director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College, was in the crowd and sang Richardson’s praises. “He proves what I’ve always believed—that is, that you can never give up. Tenacity is the most important quality for a writer, and he certainly exemplifies that quality.”
Two poets discuss the nature of poetry after returning home from two separate poetry celebrations on April 27, 2011: “Poetry and the Creative Mind” at Lincoln Center’s Starr Theater, and “Rimbaud’s ‘Illuminations’” at the Poetry Project.
Leah Umansky Do you think poetry is accessible?
Rebecca Melnyk Yes. After hearing Rimbaud’s work, the word “timelessness” comes to mind. His words are translatable not necessarily only from French into other languages, but also through their rhythm. Music is an accessible language anyone can understand and feel.
LU The beauty of poetry is that everyone can relate to it. At the core of poetry is the essence of human emotion and what most refer to as the “human condition.” Caroline Kennedy touched on this at the “Poetry and Creative Mind” reading at Lincoln Center before reading Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry. She said that people need to “hear poems, not only read them, because they create community” and poetry lets us feel that “we are never alone.”
Two poets, one exhibit, multitudes of lists: Rebecca Melnyk and Leah Umansky visit the Morgan Library’s Lists exhibit and come away with a few of their own.
Lists come in all shapes, sizes, and mediums. As we saw at the Morgan Library’s Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art they can take the form of watercolors, collages, resumes, wills, letters, as well as such mundane forms as the grocery list or inventory list. Listers, we noticed, tend to fall into four categories which, conveniently, can be listed:1. Crosser-offers
If you’re a Crosser-offer, you:
a) Create a simple list like that of artist, Margaret de Patta’s jewelry order list.
b) Take great pleasure after completing said list, in not only the crossing-off of each task by putting a line through it, but putting a very freakishly neat line through the task, thereby “crossing it off.”