The Writer’s Center Reading

The summer has sped by, and I find myself playing catch-up with this post about my joint poetry reading with Carol Jennings on July 10 at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda.  The reading went well, although on a smaller scale than our joint May 22 reading at Politics and Prose, which attracted a standing-room-only crowd.  Carol and I read from our books to an audience of about thirty people who listened closely, as audiences at poetry readings usually do.  Carol read several of her poems first, then I read five of mine, three of which I had read in May, “Visiting Saint-Sulpice,” “Tribute,” and “Food for a Journey,” and two I had not read publicly before, “Metaphor” and “Gun Return.”

One of the rewarding features of poetry readings is that often people whom you don’t know come up to you afterwards to talk about poetry in general and your poetry in particular.  That happened to me with two different people after the Writer’s Center reading.  I was grateful for their interest.  I am grateful as well to Sunil Freeman, the assistant director of the Writer’s Center, who arranged the joint reading and seemed very  pleased with the way it worked out.

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The Politics and Prose Reading

The May 22 reading with Carol Jennings at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C., was a great success.  We had a standing-room-only crowd of approximately 100 that included family members, personal friends, and friends of poetry generally.  Carol and I were introduced to the audience by Barbara Meade, retired co-owner of P&P, who told us afterwards that it was the largest crowd for a poetry reading that she had seen in her 35-year association with the bookstore.  Carol read about a dozen of her poems; I read four somewhat longer poems of mine, “Cloistered Life,” “Visiting Saint-Sulpice,” “Tribute,” and the book’s title poem, “Food for a Journey.”  By the end of the afternoon, the store had sold all of the copies of our books that it had on hand. Afterwards, Ann and I had about 40 people back to the house for a little reception.  Ann deserves all the credit for putting that event together.

A related note.  Two weeks later, Ann and I were at a poetry event where several poets were reading.  We had to leave before the event ended, and as we were walking to our car, a woman came running after us.  She said that she had been at the P&P reading, and just wanted to tell us how much she had enjoyed “Tribute” when I read it at the bookstore.  It was nice to hear that from someone we had never met before.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Carol and I have another joint reading coming up on Sunday, July 10, at 2:00 p.m. at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda.  I’m hoping that it works out as well as the P&P reading.

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Some Notes on Readings

Since my last post, I have had three public readings from Food for a Journey.  At the first, on January 31, at a reception for community volunteers, thirty-odd neighbors listened attentively to “Bargain Hunters.”  Afterwards, some of those listeners were kind enough to purchase copies of the book.  I am grateful to Jesse Cantrill for inviting me to read.

The second, on April 10, was the rescheduled reading from the snow-postponed January 24 event at the Bannockburn community center here in Bethesda.  An overflow crowd of 24, including the one-year-old son of a good friend of my daughter Kate, attended.  Doris Brody, another local poet, read several of her works, and I read four of mine.  Two members of the audience, who had lived in Paris for periods of years, found that “Visiting Saint-Sulpice” brought back fond memories.  I am grateful to Miriam Kelty for arranging the event.

The next day, April 11, I went down to Gonzaga College High School in the District for a poetry slam arranged by the school’s librarian, Patty Tobin.  Perhaps lured by the promise of a free lunch of pizza and subs, fifty or sixty boys showed up.  I read “Escalation” and “Food for a Journey,” a teacher in the school’s poetry writing program read two of his own poems, a guidance counselor read a poem by Mary Oliver, and then, mirabile dictu, more than a dozen students marched up and read their own poems.  I was seriously impressed.  I doubt that I would have had the nerve to do the same thing when I was a high school student.  Thanks to Gennie Lalle for inviting me to participate.

Last Thursday, April 28, at the invitation of Kathy Stowe, program director of the Howard County Poetry and Literary Society (“HoCoPoLitSo” for short), my wife Ann and I drove over to Howard Community College in Columbia to attend the Blackbird Poetry Festival, jointly sponsored by the society and the college.  Marie Howe, recently the Poet Laureate of New York State, and Sandra Beasley were the featured poets, and eleven students read from or recited their own work.  It was great fun.  Ms. Howe turned out to be a wryly humorous stand-up comic as well as an acclaimed and accomplished poet.

I am looking forward to the reading at Politics and Prose in the District on Sunday, May 22.  Carol Jennings, who will reading with me there, will also be reading with me at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda on Sunday, July 10.  We are looking forward to that reading as well.

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Winter’s Arrival

I regret to report that this coming Sunday’s poetry reading at the Bannockburn community center has been cancelled.  With the entire Washington, D.C., metropolitan area hunkering down in anticipation of a mega-snowstorm arriving later today, the sponsors of the event made the eminently sensible decision to cancel the reading and to attempt to reschedule it for a time when the audience will not have to trudge through 18 to 24 inches of snow in order to attend.  If and when the event is rescheduled, I’ll announce it here.

One visual arts item:  I’m taking a class in abstract acrylic painting at the Yellow Barn Studio in Glen Echo, Maryland, starting this coming Monday, January 25.  I’m very much looking forward to it, and I’m hoping that the snowstorm will not require the cancelation of this class as well as the poetry reading.  In the meantime, the work of some of the other painters I’ll be working with is available online at outloudartists.org.  Take a look.

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A Progress Report

With lots of expert help from Maureen Ward — see the Welcome! page — and several bouts of what seemed like hand-to-hand combat with the intricacies of WordPress, I have succeeded in incorporating into the website the content that I had hoped it would contain, in particular, images of both prints and paintings and links to both poems and short stories.  I can also report that in addition to the May 22 reading from Food for a Journey at Politics and Prose, I will be reading from the book at the Bannockburn Clubhouse in Bethesda on Sunday, January 24, and at a reception for the South Bradley Hills Neighborhood Association, also in Bethesda, on Sunday, January 31.  Finally, I can report a matter of profound wonder to me, the receipt on Monday, December 14, of a modest royalty check from Antrim House, the first royalty check I have ever received.

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Good news from Politics and Prose

The good news came originally on October 21 when Abbe Fennewald, the events person at Politics and Prose told me that the store was looking towards a joint reading with another poet, Carol Jennings, this coming May.  Since then the date and time have been firmed up.  Carol and I will be reading at the store on Sunday, May 22, at 1:00 p.m.  Both of us are very much looking forward to it.  In the meantime, the store has stocked several copies of Food for a Journey, and they are available to anyone who does not want to wait until May to see what the book is about.  Contact information for Politics and Prose appears on the last page of the website.

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A generous review

My cousin Tom Krause is a retired television producer in Australia.  In retirement he has been posting on a blog that addresses literature, politics, and related matters.  I sent him a copy of Food for a Journey, and he responded with a review.  Here is a link to his blog and the review.  Tom is very kind.

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Kudos from Ken Ludwig

“Tom Gannon’s new collection of poetry, Food for a Journey, is filled with treasures. In this autobiographical journey in poems, Gannon paints one vivid memory after another, each one so filled with telling details that it’s like living a whole new life which we get to discover line by line, stanza by stanza, each moment more moving than the last. The poems are filled with lights and darks, joys and concerns, laughter and the kinds of deep observations that give us the pleasure of seeing the world with a fresh perspective. The poems move from growing up in South Philadelphia to the priesthood, to war, and on to the what-ifs of politics, all the while creating the kind of shock of recognition reserved for only the best of literature, the kind that we savor and keep close at hand. This is a book to read and read and read again with the deepest pleasure of being in the hands of a master poet.”

Ken Ludwig, Tony Award-winning playwright for Lend Me a Tenor and
Crazy for You, author of How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare.

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Food for a Journey – Published!

FULL COVER Tom Gannon 8.3.15

My first book of poems has been published by Antrim House, Simsbury, Connecticut.

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