A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Poetry in the Park

The downtown library has an open mic poetry series this summer, hosted by Crystal Senter Brown. The sessions are held once a month, in the Quadrangle if the weather's nice, or in the Community Room if it's not. I wasn't able to attend in May, so I made a special effort to go over there today at noon.

Crystal Senter Brown is a poet who used to show up sometimes at the Dunamis Café on Wednesday nights for Crossroads Poetry, the liveliest poetry event I've ever had the pleasure of attending. I wondered if she'd be able to tell me what happened to the poetry after the Dunamis ceased to host it. Or if some of the spark was still following her around.

At least one Dunamis alum was following her, as it turned out: my old friend and workmate Maurice "Soulfighter" Taylor, making an appearance to show his support for CSB. He wrapped up the program with a powerful recitation, followed by a freestyle poem. The audience gave him "fire," "purple," "love," and "exacerbate," which he gamely composed a verse around...I say gamely because he wasn't even sure of the meaning of "exacerbate"...but he did manage to include it!

Before Soulfighter, we had elderly Beth with a poem about eye contact, classically enunciated; Harold on the human condition, Charlie and Steve with some rather humorous offerings; an apologetic poetess who composed in Spanish; a serious gentleman with moving poems about 9/11 and his faithful dog; two ladies with deftly observational verse; Jerry, solemn and passionate; three young women who read and recited, together and separately; a kid who did long dramatic recitations of Lewis Carroll and Tolkien; and, of course, Crystal herself.

The only people who didn't participate were Anna the librarian and I. Anna was supervising. What was my excuse?

At the end, I asked for the floor, and issued an invitation to everyone present to channel their artistic energy--if so moved--to the subject of one of my hobbyhorses: the possibly-soon-to-be-demolished carriage house behind the Quadrangle. I suggested they read or perform the poems next time, or send them to Crystal or Anna, and I would read them.

The local preservation and neighborhood associations, the city's building and law departments, the Historical Commission, the mayor, and the owner have all fallen down on the job, IMHO. Let's see now what the poets can do.

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