Event Recap: Openings to Light, an Afternoon of Poetry

The Sunday Best Reading Series spring season is well underway. Just this past weekend, on March 4, the series hosted The Festival of the Word in Northern Manhattan, a double-header event featuring a children’s theatre workshop with The People’s Theatre Project and a reading by three local writers who won artists’ grants for 2012 from The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA). We still have more exciting literary programs coming up this spring, including “Crossing the Atlantic,” an afternoon of poetry from “across the pond,” on April 15. Meanwhile, we offer  a recap of “Openings to Light,” which took place on December 4, along with photos and an audio link hosted on the WHFR website.

“Openings to Light” featured readings by three gifted poets: Amy Holman, Christopher Locke, and Sharon White. Amy Holman opened the program with poems from her book Wrens Fly Through This Open Window, published in 2010 by Somondoco Press, as well as newer works.  Holman’s poetry is at once quirky and unsettling, witty and gorgeous. After explaining that the title of her book came from one of its poems, “The Past is Always Coming,” which is about “dinosaurs and the four-chambered heart,” Holman started her set with a poem inspired both by an episode of CSI dealing with the “human chimera” phenomenon and by a “strange news” headline regarding a kidney transplant. In addition to strange news headlines, Holman finds poetic material in everything from archaeology to marine biology to outdated and overused slang expressions.

Poet Amy Holman.

Christopher Locke read works from his book End of American Magic and the soon-to-be-published Waiting for Grace. Many of Locke’s poems are survival stories, narrated by someone who has made it to the other side of a childhood steeped in religious extremism and a youth marked by struggles with substance abuse. As a father, Locke has found salvation closer to home. In the title poem of Waiting for Grace, named after his daughter, he “wait[s] for the yellow cube of her bus” and notes that “every day she saves [his] life.”

Poet Christopher Locke

Philadelphia poet Sharon White closed the program with selections from her most recent book Eve and Her Apple. White described the book as poetry “about travels” and  touched upon journeys of various kinds, from a trip to the Grand Canyon with her brother at age 15 to her experiences working on a farm in Norway. White’s father had just died when she wrote many of the poems, many of which were informed by her passage through this loss.  Explaining that, as a poet, she had become tired of her own voice, White also read poems that experimented with voice and taking on new identities in her verse.

Poet Sharon White

If you missed the reading–or would simply like to listen to the event again, you will find the full audio of “Openings to Light” on the Sunday Best Program page on the Washington Heights Free Radio (WHFR) web site.  Click here to listen! And thanks to Sig and Theo Rosen, Sunday Best’s sound techs, whose hard work makes the reading series possible.

Sound technician Theo Rosen

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Published in: on March 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

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