On Thursday, March 22, poets Penelope Hyde Levine and Charles Stein will read their work at New World Home Cooking, 1411 Route 212, between Woodstock and Saugerties. This reading will begin promptly at 7, so please arrive by 6:30 for dinner. Call 845-246-0900 for reservations. Readings include an open mic (5-minute limit) which can be poetry or prose.
Penelope Hyde Levine has lived in the Hudson Valley for over thirty-five years. She edited News of Music out of Bard College for many years and has been a member of several local writing groups. She has read her work in a variety of venues throughout the Hudson Valley. Recently she curated two performances in Cocoon Theatre’s Soirée in the Parlor: Landscapes Without Sleep and Room, helping fellow poets to develop visual and musical performances of their work while setting her own poems to music for dance and theatre. She works as a special education teacher for Ulster County BOCES and lives with her husband, son and their cat.
Seashore weather is larger;
breezes blow colder and light beats brighter.
Rain covers everything grey. Fog presses at the windows.
The glassy morning stillness
smothers us with silence.
This morning, on the screened-in porch
drinking coffee safe from mosquitoes,
we gaze across the meadow to the bay, a tamer version of the ocean,
and watch cormorants dip and disappear and surface
in glittering waves. A group of gulls
quarrels behind a lobster boat chugging past.
Once, as my brother played flute on the rocks,
three seals dove and circled to its singing voice.
Still, I look for their black heads, but always
it’s a sea bird skimming to the surface.
Walking on the beach, after a storm,
my friend and I found a dead baby seal
washed up with old planks and seaweed.
Its face, sweet and familiar, so like my dog’s,
it made my stomach sink and silenced our patter.
It was a sign I didn’t know how to read:
my friend would be killed fishing by the river.
The starkness of the sea exposes death more insistently than land,
where weeds and wild roses grow everywhere hiding decay.
At the shore, the waves pound, recede and pound
asserting their indifference.
Charles Stein‘s work comprises a complexly integrated field of poems, prose reflections, translations, drawings, photographs, lectures, conversations, and performances. Born in 1944 in New York City, he is the author of thirteen books of poetry including Views from Tornado Island (Lunar Chandelier), From Mimir’s Head (Station Hill Press), a verse translation of The Odyssey (North Atlantic Books), a forthcoming translation of The Iliad (Station Hill Press), and The Hat Rack Tree (Station Hill Press). His prose writings include a vision of the Eleusinian Mysteries, Persephone Unveiled (North Atlantic Books), a critical study of poet Charles Olson’s use of the writing of C.G. Jung, The Secret of the Black Chrysanthemum (Station Hill Press), and a collaborative study with George Quasha of the work of Gary Hill, An Art of Limina: Gary Hill’s Works & Writings, Ediciones Poligrafa. He holds a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Connecticut at Storrs and lives with guitarist, choral director, and research historian, Megan Hastie in Barrytown New York.
When I get old
I want to be bold
I don’t want to be told
anything, I’m so bored—
I know about all I’m told about
I want to be still and sit
and listen to the gathering waves
of the Long On-Coming