Summer postpartum depression got you down? Fear not. Poetry in Essex is the perfect antidote to the “So Long, Summer Blues”. Better than a cheap flight to a snowbird sanctuary. Better than a protracted Indian Summer. Better even than your serotonin reuptake inhibitor of choice. If the last two chilly nights (and days) have cooled your enthusiasm, grab a sweater and swing by the gallery tomorrow night for hot-hot-hot poetry in Essex.
If you want to be thought of as smart
I know a good way to start.
Join us at seven
On September eleven
And get some good verse with the art. ~ Jeff Moredock
I’m pleased to remind you that the fourth and final Poetry in the Gallery Slam will be held tomorrow, September 11, at 7 p.m. in the AAA Gallery in Essex… We deeply appreciate your participation. Your enthusiastic support this season has helped to make the slams a regular feature of the Essex cultural calendar and to broaden the role of the AAA in the life of the community. ~ Steven Krolak
If you need any further evidence that the Essex renaissance is in full swing, I suggest you join us in the old firehouse on Tuesday evening. Bring a poem, an appreciation for poetry and a friend. You won’t be disappointed.
Poetry in Essex, Summer 2012
AAA Gallery Director Steven Krolak and Essex bon vivant Jeff Moredock delivered a consistently inspiring and well attended poetry series throughout the summer. Starting out with “Essex Poetry, Taxes and Poet Laureate” in June and Adirondack fountains of youth and marital bliss in July, August marked a memorable high note as local bards celebrated the hustle and bustle of summer with free verses for all. Moredock’s poem, “The Annual 4th of July Parade” captured the energy and excitement like a Norman Rockwell calendar illustration.
The Annual 4th of July Parade
It pulls itself together in the shadow of St. Phillip
Wayne Bailey, a real trooper, calms the crowd
“It won’t be long” “Any minute now.”
Entertains by comments on passers-by who catch his eye
And then, when the crowd has worked itself into
What passes for a frenzy in Essex, New York,
It bursts into view, ignores the blinking red light
And fills the street.
Convertibles carry politicians
Floats carry good causes
A small armada of ancient tractors
Carry a small armada of ancient drivers
Candy fills the air
Men in red face, loose from a reservation in Reber,
Run from side to side
They frighten young children and lunge at
A bagpipe and drum band marches smartly by
Cats scream to get out of their bags
Drums cause chests to resonate
More candy flies through the air
A young man wobbles by on a unicycle
A vintage classic car goes by
Driven by a vintage classic owner.
Yet another fire-truck passes,
Deafens the crowd with its siren
The sheriff goes by, riding in the back seat,
Not his usual place.
A Hazmat truck appears, and we briefly feel less safe
Even more candy rains from above
Giant water pistols do their best
But cannot dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd
And then, when we all feel we can’t
Stand the excitement one more minute
The parade ends.
Many want it to come again, as it did
One year when it was so brief it
Doubled back for a second run.
But not this year.
Church ladies still hawk strawberry shortcake
Firemen push hot dogs and
One good citizen sells balloons for a good cause
Then sees their new owners lose their grip
And watch their purchase head out of town,
High in the sky.
Children clutch bags of airborne and street-bruised candy
A man from Willsboro claims to
Have been struck in the eye by a tootsie roll.
He gets smiles, but no sympathy
Wayne Bailey, still a real trooper,
Thanks a few dozen people and
We all head home
Grateful for another American birthday.
~ Jeff Moredock, July 2011
If tomorrow night will be your first poetry slam at the gallery in Essex, let me cover a couple of questions I often receive.
Poetry in Essex FAQ
Q: Is it really a poetry slam? What is a poetry slam?
A: No, strictly speaking the AAA sponsored poetry events are not poetry slams. They are informal, public public readings in which everyone is invited to share their own poetry aloud with a friendly and supportive audience comprised of other writers and poetry aficionados. Poetry slams are competitive. “Simply put, poetry slam is the competitive art of performance poetry. It puts a dual emphasis on writing and performance, encouraging poets to focus on what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. A poetry slam is a competitive event in which poets perform their work and are judged by members of the audience. Typically, the host or another organizer selects the judges, who are instructed to give numerical scores (on a zero to 10 or one to 10 scale) based on the poets’ content and performance.” (Poetry Slam – General FAQ) Tomorrow night you’ll witness no competition, only encouraging and admiring peers.
Q: Is it child friendly?
A: Although writers are invited to decide for themselves whether or not their material is appropriate for the audience, there are often children in attendance and even reading or reciting their own poems. I’ve attended all three poetry in Essex events this summer and never once have I witnessed poetry that was inappropriate for children.
Q: Is there a fee to attend? To read?
A: Although similar events elsewhere often require payment for attendance, it is totally free to attend and/or read at the poetry in Essex series.
Q: Do I have to be a published poet to read?
A: Certainly not. Most of the poets reading are amateurs who write poetry for fun rather than profit. (Excuse the cheeky aside to all writers who’ve grown rich publishing poetry!)