by Priscilla Barton
I attended a poetry reading on Feb. 15 at Mills Pond House, located at 660 Rte. 25A St. James, NY. Mr. Roger Bonair-Agard was the poet of the evening. He is the award-winning '99 Individual National Poetry Slam Champion. Mr. Agard also conducts workshops for teens and adults. He has brought his poetry into prisons for those unable to attend his readings. It was the first time I had ever heard him read, and I found him impressive. He has a huge stage presence, and a very relaxed manner. His poetry was powerful and stunning, as evidenced by the loud applause of his audience. I found the poems about his family incredibly moving. He deserves a far more academic critique of his work, but I'll have to leave that to better minds. My take? He rocked! If you ever get the chance to hear him recite, you won't be disappointed. It's more an experience than a reading. An experience you will not soon forget. There was nothing Hallmark about Roger Bonair-Agard.
(thank you, God) Can you tell I liked him? He was great, and I'm very pleased I got to shake his hand and tell him so. Thank you, Roger.
Upcoming poetry events at Mills Pond House are as follows: Karen Swenson, poet/journalist will be reciting on April 26th at 8PM. Local poets Arlene Eager and Gladys Henderson will be reading on March 29th at 8PM. There is a $2.00 admission fee for all readings. These events are funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. through grants received from Chase Manhattan Foundation and New York
State Council on the Arts.
And now I get to blow my own horn. I will be receiving my very first "cash" payment for one of my poems from Falling Star Magazine. I'll be in their Spring Issue. Yep, this deems me "professional." Of course, payment doesn't stop those rejection letters from hitting me right between the eyes. One man's meat, another man's poison. Go figure! Just remember rejection often stems from one man's opinion. Turn that letter into confetti, and move on!
Here's a poem by Sherman Alexie, a poet I love:
The night my father broke
the furniture and used the pieces
to build a fire, my mother tore me
from my bed at 3 a.m. Eyes and mouth
wide with whiskey, she told me
we were leaving that place
and would never come back.
We drove for hours, under the gates
of this reservation, as she recanted
years of life with my father,
the man who pulled
our house from its foundations
and sent us all tumbling down
to a cafe in Colville. We took penance
in the breakfast special, she told me
she forgave all our sins. We drove back
to my father, gathering ash
in his hands, planning to bury it all
in the graves we had chosen for each other.
by Sherman Alexie
Because I believe we've all made love to a ghost
at one time or another, I offer you a tiny poem
I wrote a long time ago:
Making Love To A Ghost
He touches me and I pretend
his hands are yours. My skin
can be lied to; taught imagined
As sound and movement mingle
under blankets of desire, I cover
my mouth - careful not to say