You know, looking back on these last few months I realize that I have been enjoying a very active art life this year. Not only have I been interacting with lots of poets and musicians (some of them at a local art gallery!), but my sons have even become more interested, and one of them has taken up writing poetry himself. I’ve been involved in multiple public readings, both formal and informal. Just scroll back through to the Summer and you’ll see what I mean.
This month’s gathering of local poets yielded six or eight video clips alone! I am writing new stuff again, as well as submitting poems for publication hither and yon, and my dear friend Ann and I are working on some big local/ regional projects for the near future.
Some days between all this wonderful creative activity, and the stuff of work, bills, and future plans, not to mention my awesome family, my boys, my friends, their mother and my partner, the pianist, I can forget, and almost take for granted how awesome my life is. I still have to catch up with my son Jonathan to see how his weekend was when he went to a concert for Street Light Manifesto! Thank god I finally have a few days off.
I did finally, albeit briefly get to meet my hero, Billy Collins at a reading at King’s College last week too! But one of the cool things I did recently was to spend a great deal of time on Thursday, October 11th with two poets whom I greatly admire.
I never had the pleasure of being a student of Jerry Wemple’s when I was at Bloomsburg University, but I have been present at a meeting, and a reading or two, and he helped me out with some scheduling difficulties while he was interim chair of the English department. What an awesome guy! He’s the creative writing director at Bloom U, the editor of Watershed, the Journal of the Susquehanna, and the author of You Can See it from Here, of which I secured a signed copy some time back, and The Civil War in Baltimore. His awards include the Noami Long Madgett Poetry Award, The Word Journal Chapbook Prize and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowship. He is also co-editor with Marjorie Maddox, of Common Wealth, Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania.
Marjorie Maddox is the other co-editor of Common Wealth. She is the creative writing director at Lock Haven University where she taught my oldest son, Josiah. Her published works are many and include one I am currently reading called Weeknights at the Cathedral, and the children’s books Rules of the Game, Baseball Poems and A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry. She has won several Pushcart Prize nominations, an Academy of American Poets Prize, the Cornell University Robert Chasen Memorial Poetry Prize, the Paumanok Poetry Award, and Seattle Review’s Bentley Prize, among others.
It was such a privilege, and a delight to get to spend most of the day with these two, and truly an honor to share a podium with them. I am so glad I had the chance to participate in the event.
Below is a clip, shaky at times, as YouTube’s stabilization feature seemed unable to help my unsteady hand this time, from the Capitol reading in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, recorded in the presence of Susan Corbett, Chair of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and wife of Governor Tom Corbett. Echoing poetry from the East Wing Rotunda on October 11th, here are Marjorie Maddox and Jerry Wemple: