Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jacklyn Potter Remembered

Last evening June 25 under the trees at Joaquin Miller's cabin, we celebrated Jacklyn Potter, who for over 20 years was the impresario nonpareil of the Miller Cabin Poetry Series. The program began with readings by winners of the Jacklyn Potter Young Poets Competition—Helen Sitar who won in 2006 and Elizabeth McLean who won in 2007. Elizabeth, who drove up from Charlottesville, Virginia, with her parent, had a memorable poem about a swim meet. Helen, who has been coming to programs at Miller Cabin since she was eleven, read a very moving poem about being by her grandmother's side as she died.

Anne Becker presented the next part of the program which was a reading of poems by Jacklyn. Anne, who knew Jacklyn in the early 1970s and was house mates with her, selected a poignant mix of work that gave us Jacklyn, the activist working with migrant workers; Jacklyn, the daugher who as a little girl had to mother her mother; Jacklyn, the philosopher writing about immortality. Anne, who was by Jacklyn's bedside when she breathed her last breath, was very moved by Helen Sitar's poem about her grandmother. Also Anne brought photos of Jacklyn and the group of people they lived with in Washington, DC. There was our Jacklyn with long blond hair at the Embassy of Atlantis, the name of the group house nestled in a neighborhood of many embassies including the embassiy of Belgium.

Also many kudos to Perry Epes, Director of the Jacklyn Potter Young Poets Competition (he introduced the young poets last evening), Kathi Morrison-Taylor, Co-Director of the Miller Cabin Series (she has a warm and welcoming style that Jacklyn would love and last evening she gave us a vignette of Miller at 17 years old cooking for gold miners in California!), Doug Wilkinson, Co-Director of the Miller Cabin Series (he is handling the open mic portion of the program and last week he went solo with a engaging program headlined by Heather Blaine & Shep Ranbom) and audience (including the regular attendees) who braved the heat and humidity to share in the evening.

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