Thursday night’s reading at the Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium was most enjoyable. Nancy Arbuthnot, Professor Emerita of English at the United States Naval Academy, read several of her poems first, and then I read four poems from Food for a Journey, “Cloistered Life,” “Visiting Saint-Sulpice,” “Tribute,” and the book’s title poem. (A late-arising family matter prevented Nicole Bresner, the third poet scheduled to read, from participating in the program.) In light of the current political situation, my wife Ann had suggested that I be sure to read “Cloistered Life”; the poem is based on my memories of the immigrant Italian grandmothers of my elementary school classmates.
Though not large, the audience was attentive and enthusiastic. My daughter Kate attended the reading along with Ann, and all three of us appreciated the opportunity to chat with members of the audience at the reception that followed. I am very grateful to Sara Daines and Marilyn Sklar, who arranged the reading for the Takoma Park Arts and Humanities Commission, and to moderator and Takoma Park poet Mary Beth Hatem, who enriched the evening by reading two topical poems, one at the beginning of the event and the second at its conclusion. The first poem was an amended version of “A Blessing for a Friend on the Arrival of Illness,” by John O’Donohue, with “these days” substituted for “illness”; the second was “Trump L’Oeil” by George Saunders. If you are not familiar with “Trump L’Oeil,” it is worth Googling.
The reading was taped for Takoma Park’s CityTV, but the video is not yet available on YouTube. I will update this post once it does appear.