This Saturday, May 3, at 4:00 p.m. some of the big names of Hudson Valley poetry will be getting together for “I Did It With Will Nixon: New Adventures in Collaborative Poetry” at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (28 Tinker Street, Woodstock). This special poetry reading will feature Teresa Giordano, Mary Kathryn Jablonski, Mike Jurkovic, Alison Koffler, Will Nixon, Bruce Weber, and Glenn Werner.
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One day Will Nixon decided to leave the Solitary Genius School of Poetry. Not collaborative by nature, he’d warmed up to the practice by co-authoring two books with Michael Perkins, Walking Woodstock: Journeys into the Wild Heart of America’s Most Famous Small Town and The Pocket Guide to Woodstock. Why not try it with poetry, previously the most private of artistic pursuits? No longer pluming the confessional depths, he sat down with friends to trade poetic lines back and forth on their writing pads, improvising rhymes, surreal riffs, and odd synchronicities. Said one friend of the process: “I had to keep grabbing the steering wheel to keep us from driving off the cliff.” Then each poet went home to write their own poem out of this joyous mess. The results could be amazingly different. Not only from each other but from any poems Will Nixon had previously written. His Inner Collaborator had gotten loose. Logic was the first victim.
“I Did It With Will Nixon: New Adventures in Collaborative Poetry” is the debut reading of this work on Saturday afternoon, May 3rd at 4 pm at WAAM (Woodstock Artists Association & Museum), 28 Tinker Street in Woodstock. He will be joined by Teresa Giordano, a writer and producer for the History Channel and other television networks, who began their collaboration by insisting “I have no imagination” and has proven to be a big happy liar ever since. Mary Kathryn Jablonski, a visual artist and poet from Saratoga, has already won second prize in a spoken word competition for her collaborative poems. Her chapbook is To the Husband I Have Not Yet Met. Mike Jurkovic has a forthcoming chapbook Eve’s Venom following his earlier Purgatory Road. He likes to e-mail his collaborative poems at 4:53 am and has set several to music. A Bronx loyalist but devoted Woodstock weekender, Alison Koffler always finds a way to slip her dog into her poems along with her imaginary beasts. Her latest chapbook is The Others. Bruce Weber started this process one summer afternoon by saying “Sure” to Will Nixon’s notion of writing a collaborative poem. (What had Bruce been smoking?) They sat at the porch table with paper and pen, while Bruce’s wife left them in peace to attend to her garden in her mosquito head net. His newest book is The Breakup of My First Marriage. Glenn Werner’smost recent chapbook is Premeditated Contrition and Other Poems. A graphic designer and technical wizard, he is producing the upcoming Calling All Poets (CAPs) Anthology and web streams from the groups’ readings at the Howland Center in Beacon. Gordon W. Brown doesn’t read much poetry, but he’s a theater veteran who has directed productions for Performing Arts of Woodstock, Woodstock Shakespeare Festival, and STS Playhouse, where he recently appeared in Sylvia. The prospect of corralling these poems into a collaborative spoken word performance has put the gleam in his eye.