National Poetry Month!

In celebration of National Poetry Month, in April the Collected Poets Series will feature 4 poets in 2 readings!

First, on Thursday, April 1, 2010, at 7:00 pm, poets Lawrence Raab and Regie O’Hare Gibson will kick off National Poetry Month with a reading from their books as well as new poems. ($2-5 sliding scale.)

*Please note our new starting time.

Lawrence Raab

Lawrence Raab was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He received his BA from Middlebury College, and his MA from Syracuse University. He has received the Bess Hokin prize from Poetry magazine, a Junior Fellowship from the University of Michigan Society of Fellows, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. His collection of poems, What We Don’t Know About Each Other, won the National Poetry Series and was a Finalist for the 1993 National Book Award. Recent books include The Probable World, Visible Signs: New & Selected Poems, and his seventh collection, The History of Forgetting (2009), all published by Penguin. He teaches literature and writing at Williams College.

Regie O'Hare Gibson

Author, songwriter, educator and workshop facilitator Regie O’Hare Gibson has performed, taught, and lectured at universities, theaters, and various other venues in seven countries, most recently Monfalcone, Italy where he received the Absolute Poetry Award for performance and writing. Both he and his work appear in the New Line Cinema film “love jones,” a film based on events in his life. He is a recipient of a Provincetown FAWC Herbert Walker Scholarship and is an instructor at Grubstreet Inc. His work has appeared in a number of anthologies and journals including The Iowa Review, Poetry, and The Good Men Project: Stories from the Front lines of Modern Manhood, and others. He is a National Poetry Slam Individual Champion, has been featured on NPR, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, and WGBH-2 Art Close-Up in which his performance was nominated for a Boston Emmy. His first collection of poems Storms Beneath the Skin received the Golden Pen Award and he received his MFA in poetry from New England College. In 2007 he founded Neon JuJu: A literarymusic ensemble which combines spoken word and poetry with music and electronica.

*

THE VOYEUR by Regie O’Hare Gibson

That 17th century umber and light
they wear one belonged to Caravaggio––
So you must narrow
your eye to its slit or miss
the ahhh of their bucking
hips– the vertebrate
oh in their spines consummate
arching

Even now, the unanchored
pulse sputters
along …flutters
deep inside
the damp, the dank…wait…
there, see
the just-visible cleave
weaving them conjugate.

That restive zydeco you hear
untightening the thigh’s rusted
hoodoo needs
no name. Their stumble wants to be purr,
then screech, then purr again
Wants to be violent
chiaroscuro. Wants
them particulate and torn.

Widen the eye…
they fade  into nights
black throat.
Narrow it, they reach out to you,
you cry in half-spat metaphor:

Oh, fistfuls of plead that open to…
Oh, holy pollen come and make us…
Oh, smoke spiraling toward the…
Oh, sfumato blurring the vaginal pout ….
Oh, virginal wink in the soft thro…
Oh, labial gondola gathered from orange peels

You lean into the feminine dark
like Lorca into the cobra’s
eye. You are part
of this small death:
the sum of all salts ripens
like brine
in your loins.

(Used by permission of the poet. All rights reserved.)

*

THE HISTORY OF FORGETTING by Lawrence Raab

When Adam and Eve lived in the garden
they hadn’t yet learned how to forget.
For them every day was the same day.
Flowers opened, then closed.
They went where the light told them to go.
They slept when it left, and did not dream.

What could they have remembered,
who had never been children? Sometimes
Adam felt a soreness in his side,
but if this was pain it didn’t appear
to require a name, or suggest the idea
that anything else might be taken away.
The bright flowers unfolded,
swayed in the breeze.

It was the snake, of course, who knew
about the past—that such a place could exist.
He understood how people would yearn
for whatever they’d lost, and so to survive
they’d need to forget. Soon
the garden will be gone, the snake
thought, and in time God himself.

These were the last days—Adam and Eve
tending the luxurious plants, the snake
watching from above. He knew
what had to happen next, how persuasive
was the taste of that apple. And then
the history of forgetting would begin—
not at the moment of their leaving,
but the first time they looked back.

(With permission of Penguin. All rights reserved.)

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