24 March 2012

Caduceus "Book Tour" #5

Since I received my copies of CADUCEUS three weeks ago, I have given eight poetry readings of various kinds in a wide variety of venues. Each had a kind of theme or focus, so I'd like to report briefly on each one.

photo by Greg T. Desmarais

10 March 2012

Andrew DeVries is a remarkable sculptor with an international reputation. I had the very delightful privilege of interviewing him for the "Where Are We Now?" series last year. Well, now I have added to the the very, VERY great honor of reading in his beautiful gallery space!
It was a lovely day, the first really spring day in The Berkshires. The sun poured in through the glass walls of the "sun room" in Andrew's perfect little gallery, right in the heart of historical downtown Lenox, MA (my hometown).
When I arranged my books on the pedestal of one of his sculptures, I thought I might just melt into oblivion with the joy: I never imagined my work would share a space with his. A dream come true that I never even rose to dreaming!

Because this reading was in an artist's space, I read all the poems from the book that were directly inspired by a work of visual, dramatic, or musical art:
Psyche’s Sunlight"
"Venus & Cupid"
"Meditation: Chopin in the Snow"
Mappa Mundi"
"Sounds of the Sculptor"

"Carmen Rehearses Her Monologue
"Tantalus in Love"

There were about 15 people present, and it was a delightful, lively, funny group. One listener asked questions, even interrupting a poem once and asking for a line to be repeated. I loved that! I really want these events to be interactive, and sometimes I'm not sure how to get that started. So I totally embraced the chutzpah.

Here's a funny story. "Tantalus in Love" requires two reader: one to read the "stage direction" stanzas, one to read the lines spoken by Tantalus. Well, there was a family of beautiful people there: a mother, son, and daughter. The son, Greg Desmarais, was taking photographs. He stepped out of the room for a moment, just when I was asking for a volunteer to read with me. His sister Emily volunteered him in absentia. When he came back in, he found himself recruited to perform who knows what without his consent. But he stepped up to the challenge, only warning "I read really loudly." As he joined me up front, Andrew hollered, "Watch out, Greg; she's married!" Then I asked him if he wanted to read the stage directions or the part of Tantalus, offering to read the guy's part if he wanted. "I think I make a good guy" was his snappy response. So, he read it! And let me tell you, that's a weird poem if I ever wrote one. He got quite the applause at the end, and well deserved it.

I can hardly express the graciousness of Andrew and his wife Patricia. He baked scones. They provided coffee, tea, red wine, white wine. He contacted Joshua Needleman of Chocolate Springs Cafe; Joshua donated a work of art of his own:
Chocolate, art, poetry, sunlight, friends, family--All in all, a day to remember!
photo by Greg T. Desmarais

To read poems mentioned in this post, you'll have to purchase Caduceus on amazon. If you do, please consider writing a little review on amazon or on your website -- and please let me know that you have done so. Thanks!



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