Keep leaves

When a leaf falls on your painting, you can keep on painting. And, you can write a poem to go with it. At the New York City Poetry Festival yesterday, one of the family-friendly activities hosted by the Poetry Society of New York did involve painting and writing poetry under the magnificent plane trees of Nolan Park, Governors Island. So we did, and, while dabbing colors, we could hear readings by Malvika Jolly and I.S. Jones coming across the lawn from The Blackbird stage.

If you’re not busy today, you should head down for Day Two. There’s so much more going on than what I’m mentioning, but I had the constraint of a bored teen with me. I did, however, acquire a bunch of books, some of which I’d been meaning to buy but hadn’t gotten around to because I already have such a stack waiting for me on my table. Temptation came primarily from Gaudy Boy, CavanKerry, and Black Lawrence presses. Thank goodness for this bored teen daughter of mine, saving me from poetry overwhelm.

I’m particularly excited about Object Permanence by Nica Bengzon, winner of the 3rd annual Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prize. When I disembarked from the Governors Island ferry back in Manhattan and found a cafe at which to collapse, this was the one I pulled out first to read. Maybe not for the squeamish, this poet’s collection uses medical communications and language to evaluate emotional and moral terrain.

I’ve met most of the other poets represented in this stack at other readings and literary programs, so it’s a particularly wonderful pile of friends. I might even put these ahead of the other books in my queue. The liberty to read whatever I want in this post-teaching moment in my life has its bright spots. So grateful. Thank goodness for poetry.

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