Woodstock Poetry Society Featuring Richard Parisio and Sabrina Miller

Sabrina Miller

The next gathering of the Woodstock Poetry Society takes place this coming Saturday afternoon at the Golden Notebook starting at 2 p.m. Host Phillip Levine has two great poets, Richard Parisio and Sabrina Miller, lined up as the featured readers for this great Hudson Valley poetry series.

Here is more info from the host himself:

Woodstock Poetry Society & Festival as part of the Woodstock Arts Consortium is sponsoring the following poetry event as part of the Woodstock “Second Saturdays” Art Events. For a full listing of “Second Saturday” events, see: www.artsinwoodstock.org.

Poets Richard Parisio and Sabrina Miller will be the featured readers, along with an open mike when the Woodstock Poetry Society & Festival meets at Golden Notebook (Upstairs), 29 Tinker Street on Saturday, March 14th at 2pm.

Originally hailing from a small town in Oklahoma, where sunsets glisten over vast horizons, gypsum plateaus and miles of desert sand, Sabrina Miller (aka Sparkle Poetess) discovered poetry as a means of expressing and understanding her harrowing experiences growing up as a lesbian and an artist in a burnt out, Midwest, desert town. Her first poem was written on the night of September 11th, 2001 after sitting in her classroom watching the Twin Towers fall on the television, “There was no room for masks that day. I remember coming home after seeing people jump hundreds of stories out of the skyscrapers, and watching massive structures completely disappear in a plume of smoke and fire as a wall of debris would sweep across the city. As a young child sensing a disturbing unease in everyone around me, something intense happened within me, and I knew I had to do something. The only thing that made sense was words – so I wrote.”

Her writing takes the reader into a realm of lucid visual imagery, nurturing an open exploration and internal dialogue through a wide spectrum of human emotions. Her experiences as a creative spirit in a place void of artistic culture would cultivate a passion to transform the landscape around her, “I would walk down the streets of my small town looking into the eyes of all the beings that crossed my path. There were no dreams, no desires; nothing. It infused me with a renewed sense of appreciation and love for the transformative and uplifting qualities of art. I would go out into fields of sunflowers with my pen and paper, watching the currents of wind moving through miles and miles of wheat.”

In a place where drugs, gangs, religious zealotry, racism and homophobia claimed the lives of young people, it was difficult to know where to turn. When it became public knowledge in her community that Sabrina was a lesbian, it only intensified her sense of displacement and isolation, “I went from homecoming queen to pariah. I was constantly judged for my sexuality. I was met with hostility, hatred and fear. I couldn’t even walk into the grocery store without becoming the subject of someone’s cruel joke. People wouldn’t look me in the eye, and I constantly feared that I would be violently assaulted or killed simply because of my sexual orientation.”

After submitting art and poetry in an online group called Inspire Art, (a global community created by Sarah Fimm as call to artists, dreamers, musicians, poets, scientists and anyone that wants to use their talents for human rights and collaborative projects), Sabrina visited Woodstock in the summer of 2012. During an event known as The Sparkle Park at The Bearsville Theater, (created by Sarah Fimm as a combined show and art installation that saved the sight of over 60 people through the SEVA Foundation), Sabrina would discover her place in a burgeoning community of artists and dreamers. She has since been working alongside legendary musicians and creators alike on several projects.

Over the past few months, Sabrina has had the opportunity to gain experience as an assistant director on film sets, record poems in the studio with Pete Caigan at Flymax Recording, create music videos for instrumental compositions, assemble a complete anthology of her poetry thus far that spans hundreds of pages, film live performances of local musicians, and create paintings. Sabrina has been putting the voice her experiences gave her into a wide variety of creative projects, “I am so grateful for the sense of family I have found in this community. The people I have encountered have enriched my life with beautiful lessons and experiences in the realm of art. In all things I do, I hope to inspire love, healing, connectivity and compassion and to help other artists find roads the way that I did.”

API-RichardParisioRichard Parisio has worked as an interpretive naturalist for over forty years, in the Florida Everglades and in New York’s Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley. He is a nature columnist for the local newspaper in New Paltz, NY, where he lives and writes. His poems have appeared in three regional anthologies and in a number of journals, including The Kerf, Spillway and Common Ground Review, and his poetry collection The Owl Invites Your Silence won the Slapering Hol Press 2014 Poetry Chapbook Prize.

Parisio is NYS Coordinator for River of Words, a national children’s poetry contest on the theme of watersheds, and teaches nature poetry classes for children in local schools, and for adults in the New Paltz chapter of the Lifetime Learning Institute. He enjoys hiking in the Shawangunk mountains, and is an active member of Mohonk Preserve.

For further information on this great, long running series, contact Phillip X  Levine (845)246-8565 or email: pprod@mindspring.com.


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