Saturday, May 24, 2008

David Wagoner Birthday Reading


A poetical celebration of David Wagoner’s birth, life and poetry.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 7:00 PM

Barnes & Noble Bookseller
3311 Titt
abawassee Rd.
Saginaw , MI 48603
phone 989.790.9214

Who should come
Join us if you love poetry or are curious as to what poetry is all about. Join us if you'd like to talk to people whose hearts and minds are more open than closed. Join us if you can agree or disagree with someone's opinion respectfully. Bring a book if you can. It’s OK if it’s from your library. Note: David Wagoner will not be joining our group.

Find out what poems sound like out loud. Listen in on the group and then find a place where you can jump in and read something yourself. Great fun for the whole family. If you have specialized knowledge regarding our poet, do not hesitate to regale us with your story. Don't expect to leave our event with a definitive understanding of the poet or the poems but please do seek to experience and c
ommunicate the joys of poetry with others. Join in our informal discussion of poems we know and love and poems we are only just discovering. Better readers make better writers. Visit with our group where everyone's poetry is valued if not appreciated. If you have a smile to share be sure to bring it; otherwise be prepared to leave with one on your face and in your heart. If you're too far away to join us, create your own Birthdays of Poets Reader’s Workshop. Speak up now and forever share your peace. Tell (bring!) a friend.

How to find the organizer(s)
We are in the Poetry section, near the window that affords a view of Tittabawassee Road. The staff at Barnes & Noble will put up a sign that says 'This space reserved for The River Junction Poets at 7 p.m.' We'll be getting a few folding chairs to add around the coffee table there.

Born (June 5, 1926) in Ohio and raised in Indiana, Midwesterner Wagoner has been initially influenc
ed by family ties, ethnic neighborhoods, industrial production and pollution, and the urban environment. His move to the Pacific Northwest in 1954, the result of his teacher and friend Theodore Roethke's recommending he apply for a teaching position at the University of Washington, changed both his outlook and his poetry. Writing in the Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series, Wagoner recalls how "when I drove down out of the Cascades and saw the region that was to become my home territory for the next thirty years, my extreme uneasiness turned into awe. I had never seen or imagined such greenness, such a promise of healing growth. Everything I saw appeared to be living ancestral forms of the dead earth where I'd tried to grow up."

Although Wagoner has written numerous novels, Robert Cording believes that "it is Wagoner's poetry on which his reputation will rest," for Cording notes that for Wagoner, writing poetry is "a constant attempt to break through the barriers between interior and exterior so that whatever lies behind 'the dark window' might be revealed." Leonard Neufeldt calls Wagoner "simply, one of the most accomplished poets currently at work in and with America." "His range and mastery of subjects, voices, and modes, his ability to work with ease in any of the modes (narrative, descriptive, dramatic, lyric, anecdotal) and with any number of species (elegy, satirical portraiture, verse editorial, apostrophe, jeremiad, and childlike song, to name a few) and his frequent combinations of a number of these into astonishingly compelling orchestrations provide us with an intelligent and convincing definition of genius."

Excerpted from accessed 5/24/08

For a Student Sleeping in a Poetry Workshop

by David Wagoner

I've watched his eyelids sag, spring open

Vaguely and gradually go sliding

Shut again, fly up

With a kind of drunken surprise, then wobble

Peacefully together to send him

Home from one school early. Soon his lashes

Flutter in REM sleep. I suppose he's dreaming

What all of us kings and poets and peasants

Have dreamed: of not making the grade,

Of draining the inexhaustible horn cup

Of the cerebral cortex where ganglions

Are ganging up on us with more connections

Than atoms in heaven, but coming up once more

Empty. I see a clear stillness

Settle over his face, a calming of the surface

Of water when the wind dies. Somewhere

Down there, he's taking another course

Whose resonance (let's hope) resembles

The muttered thunder, the gutter bowling, the lightning

Of minor minions of Thor, the groans and gurgling

Of feral lovers and preliterate Mowglis, the songs

Of shamans whistled through bird bones. A worried neighbor

Gives him the elbow, and he shudders

Awake, recollects himself, brings back

His hands from aboriginal outposts,

Takes in new light, reorganizes his shoes,

Stands up in them at the buzzer, barely recalls

His books and notebooks, meets my eyes

And wonders what to say and whether to say it,

Then keeps it to himself as today's lesson.

Source: Poetry (October 2002).

From accessed 5/24/08

Expect more at the
Birthdays of Poets Blog. Go now.

All best and see you Wednesday,
Andrew Christ

Legal stuff
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Birthdays of Poets Blog. If you prefer to not receive these messages, reply to this e-mail address (riverjunctionpoets at gmail dot com) and include the word ‘unsubscribe’ in the text of your message.

Parting Thoughts
Research indicates that better readers make better writers. Maybe this is why, in the
Poet's Market, editors of literary magazines often recommend poets read more poetry. Are you not aware? You are a cultural event, and so is everyone else. Celebrate (poetry) together. May God continue to bless us mightily one and all. Be sure to thank a veteran for his/her service. Remember: only you can improve the audience for poetry. Please read, discuss and share responsibly. And vote.

-- "It is our goal to appreciate and improve our talents, to share our own work and to communicate the joys of poetry with others. Everyone's poetry is valued."
River Junction Poets Mission Statement

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