Helen Ruggieri

Pine Hollow Arboretum Reading, May 25

This venue in Slingerlands, NY has been added to the list of area places where poetry happens on an ongoing basis. This night’s reading was by Helen Ruggieri, with an open mic for local poets. Our host was Rootdrinker Institute director, Alan Casline.

I was first up (the #1 slot was still open when I got there just before the reading started) with the whimsical “Support the Bottom” & the sexy hot pants poem. Marion Menna shared her poems “Loons” & “New York Shorts.” Paul Amidon‘s “North Country Tenant” was in a cemetary, & “Junk Car” was a childhood memory & he ended with another memory, “Moving Up Day.” Obeeduid (Mark O’Brien) also had a couple of memory poems, “Catch Penny” & then 2 on death, one was titled “Kenny” (on the death of a young friend). Mimi Moriarty anticipated the Memorial Day holiday with vets telling war stories in the “Home Front Cafe” then one about a young recruit’s graduation party, “Good Bye Party.”

The featured poet Helen Ruggieri teaches workshops on Japanese verse forms so it wasn’t surprising that her reading was sprinkled with haiku, like croutons in pea soup, but she began with “Memorial Day” done from memory. Other poems on Asian themes were one on “the anonymous poet of the Tang Dynasty”, & one on Buddhism in Japan, “The Pavilion of Gold.” Other poems were “Apologies to Schiller” & “Reading with the Senses.” New poems were one on making a wreath from weeds, “Deer Run,” & “A Bedtime Story.” She ended with her favorite haiku about mosquitos harmonizing.  Her latest book is Butterflies Under a Japanese Moon from Kitsune Books.

Continuing the open mic Sharon Stenson‘s first piece was about a student shot by accident, “Essay #3: Cause & Effect, for Vito,” while her second poem “Feathers” was lighter. Judith Kerman read a bouquet of nature poems, “Jack,” “Pulling Maples,” “In the Kingdom” (herons), & “Global Positioning.” Alan Casline read descriptive pieces from a recent trip to London, including “Others Gone to the Prime Meridian” (who wants to see an imaginary line anyways?). Edie Abrams remembered her mother & her grandmother growing potatoes in “Resurrection,” & the poem “Nature’s Blessings” came from walking her dog. Barbara Quint read a prose memoir about being at a circus fire, “The Day the Clown Cried.”

Watch for notices about other readings at this peaceful, airy venue. This one sponsored by Rootdrinker Institute & the Hudson Valley Writers Guild.