The Arts Council of Calvert County is sponsoring a unique and special poetry reading on Friday, April 24, beginning at 5:30 P.M. at the CalvART Gallery located in the Prince Frederick Shopping Center, next to the Greene Turtle Restaurant. The reading will focus on poems about the joys, struggles and blessings of parenting and will feature two outstanding local poets, Jeffrey L. Coleman of Lusby who teaches at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, And Michael S. Glaser, the Poet Laureate of Maryland from 2004-2009. Light snacks and beverages will be provided! This event is open to the public!
The reading will offer poems that range from observations about the newborn: “Your face squints against the light…as your arms and legs flail their first flailing into the world, against the world.” (from “Squinting Against the Light,” by Michael S. Glaser) to the bouncing of a child on one’s knee while singing a song (“I open my mouth to sing / And the song becomes a memory…” (from “Verse after Verse,” by Jeffrey Coleman) to the darker wonders of a young child’s mind that fears “entering the night world…the great abyss behind each eyelid, “(from “The Man Who Thought Himself a Mother,” by Jeffrey Coleman) and the dark fears in a father’s mind when his child announces “I’m going to sleep on Dominick’s boat tonight…” (from “My Daughter Turns 18” by Michael S. Glaser).
Between them, Coleman and Glaser have been writing poetry for close to 100 years and much of that writing has been inspired or evoked by their experiences as parents and their observations – not only of their children growing from infants into adulthood, but also of themselves as they explore, celebrate, and learn to cope with the sweet complexities of being fathers.
“Poetry offers a wonderful means of exploring the subtleties and nuances of parenting,” Coleman has said. “It allows parents the opportunity to record experiences and memories associated with raising children that can be accessed and cherished later. . . . Poetry enriches our lives by offering us ways to more clearly see and understand ourselves and the meaning of our human experiences.”
The family legacies that are passed from generation to generation are of importance to both writers and captured by Glaser in these lines from his poem, “Magnificat”
“this evening, the inheritance of generations overwhelms:
The impossibility of even imagining all this,
years ago when grandfather, escaping from Russia,
knocked down a guard and ran for his life, for the life
of this very child running with abandon….”
Coleman’s poems often touch movingly and unflinchingly on issues of race, as in these lines from “Young Summer Hair,”
“Javier laughed and said “That was weird”
And then asked, “Why did that lady touch my hair?”
We knew the answer
Had something to do with age and race,
Her sense of privilege,
Her ability to render us invisible. . . .
Both poets record their struggles around the need to let go, as Glaser does in a poem about his 16 year old daughter driving the family car by herself for the first time
“It was not my eyes
so much as my prayers
that followed her out of sight,
not so much my prayers as my fright.”
The poets will each read for about 20 minutes and then, during an “open Mic” period, invite members of the audience who wish to, to share something of their own writing about parenting.
The evening promises to be one embraced by not only the muse, but also the warm and shared community of parenting. CalvARTS invites you to be a part of it!
Jeffrey Coleman and Michael S. Glaser, reading works on parenting followed by an open mic at which others are invited to read their own works on parents and parenting. At the CalvART Gallery, Prince Frederick, MD, Friday, April 24, 2015 5:30 – 7:00
The CalvART Gallery (110 Solomon’s Island Rd – Prince Frederick, MD 20678) is located in the Prince Frederick Shopping Center.