Monday, October 04, 2004

Dodge Poetry Festival - Day 3

Early morning Rumi is a good place to start. About 300 people showed up
for Coleman Barks accompanied by the Paul Winter Consort for this 8:00
o'clock beginning to the day. What more can one ask for than the
wonderful combination of Rumi as spoken in Bark's Southern bass voice
and the talented musical accompaniment of the Paul Winter Consort? While
much of it was the work of Rumi, Coleman did read some of his own work;
his grand daughter poems in particular adding some humor to the morning.

The afternoon was a combination of a session of "Poets Amongst Us"
featuring readings by Catherine Doty, Wesley McNair, and James
Richardson; a story telling session featuring Joseph Bruchac, an Abenaki
storyteller working his magic on the audience (Ho! Hey!) and a
performance by the Harmonium Choral Society of Morristown, NJ. The
chorus a subset of about forty of the full 80 voice group sang some
modern and contemporary poems that were set to music. Kyle Boatwright,
the 2004 High School Student Composition Contest Winner, was in
attendance to hear the chorus perform her rendition of Robert Creeley's

The evening brought some special moments. Cecilia Vicuna performed
several of her poems in her "shaman like" manner. Then Edward Hirsch,
Joyce Carol Oats, and Phillip Levine each took their turn on the main
stage to read several of their poems. The closing was a poetic duet by
Sharon Olds and Galway Kinnell reading 18 poems either of their own or
from others on the theme of marriage. Along the way, they took turns
speaking Robert Frost's "Home Burial" and then closed by speaking one of
Shakespeare's sonnets together. Alas, my notes failed me here. I did not
record the first line so intent was I to listen, and then applaud in
admiration of what they had put together so nicely.

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