Thursday, June 22, 2006

Readings, Writings, Rovings, Rita

Sorry for the delay in writing this - it has been hectic here. The Monday Night faculty readings were fantastic. We heard from Kwame Dawes, Cyrus Cassels, and Rita Dove. All were fantastic in their own way. Kwame did a great duet with Kevin Simmonds, who sang spirituals that wove themselves seamlessly into the lines of Kwame's "Wisteria" poems. Cyrus had a stirring reading - going from the work in his previous books (Soul Make a Path Through Shouting, Beautiful Signore, and, most recently More than Peace and Cypresses) to new work that addresses World War 2 and Europe. Rita Dove's work was commanding and a real lesson in perseverance. What do you do when your house literally burns down and you lose so many memories? You start over, slowly and deliberately as she did after her conflagration, and then you might even end up dancing - like she does in American Smooth. After the reading, Rita gave a workshop. It turns out that Rita is a bit of a night owl- she chose to start the workshop after the reading , and so it started at 11 pm. But do I need to tell you that it was completely packed with faculty and fellows? Black Pulitzer Prize- Poet Laureates ain't givin out workshops every day - and nobody was gonna miss this one. Rita handed out a list of Seven Statements that define her attitude toward poetry. Sneak Peek:The first statement started with "No Excuses." She took every question folks could think of, and she was incredibly open and giving throughout a session that lasted until @ 2 am! I think Rita had a great time. Her husband, Fred, also seemed to be chillin' as well. They both decided to stay an extra day, so I think they may have felt just a little bit at home.... more later,


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