The spirits of Joaquin Miller, Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg, and Jacklyn Potter were vibrating in the auditorium of the Rock Creek Nature Center where The Word Works with Rosemary Winslow as host opened the first of eight programs in the 2012 Joaquin Miller Poetry Series.
Mel Belin gave the traditional reading of Miller’s well-known poem “Columbus” with the backdrop being a projected image of the lush green landscape of the beloved cabin where our programs took place annually for 35 years.
Ehud Sela had all the poems he read projected on that same screen much to the approval of the audience who appreciated that extra sensory experience. Karren Alenier suggested that the audience might like to ask a few questions of this Florida-based veterinarian who write formal poetry. One question was did he every write about his work with animals because the poems he selected for this reading dealt with cityscapes of Washington, DC and San Francisco.
For Susan Okie, we asked Ranger Scott to bring up the house lights so she better see her poems that included her life as a medical doctor and a wife and mother living in Kenya for several years.
The open reading included a tribute poem by Paul Hopper to our late Miller Cabin Poetry Director Jacklyn Potter, a performance poem about Allen Ginsberg, a civil war poem about Walt Whitman as a battle field nurse, a villanelle by Barbara Orten who was giving a villanelle reading at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda directly after this program (Susan Okie also presented a villanelle in her reading as tribute to Barbara going the extra mile to attend Susan’s Miller Poetry reading—we love how connected Susan was and how her reading also brought in Pamela Murray Winters who will read June 24).
Over 20 people attended the program and everyone agreed the new space was intimate and the acoustics perfect!
The next program is Sunday, June 10 and features University of Maryland professor Elizabeth Arnold with our Jacklyn Potter Young Poets Zachary Fine and Ariana Yeatts-Lonske.