Yesterday afternoon I had to work. It was a Saturday. When I was near bursting with restlessness, I hopped a cab for an overdue rebellion– I escaped to the Poet’s House opening event in the lush environs of Rockefeller Park, a gorgeous space that’s worth the trek through the blocks of construction that encircle it. The line-up of poets on hand was just stunning, and I commend them all for sticking to their alloted time and reminding us just how little it takes to pack a major punch.
Natalie Merchant showed up with all of her graceful humility and pitch-perfect brilliance. Her free performance was the cherry atop a splendid homecoming for this soon-to-be-vital cultural center. In the past, I’ve heard Natalie beg audience members to abstain from obsessive cellphone photo-taking during concerts, and I wanted to honor the request this time around, too. (Especially since the county fair-like atmosphere of twirling toddlers and off-tempo octogenarian clappers didn’t feel conducive to a frenzied waving of cell phones in the air.) But I did allow myself some video-recording…of the sky.
Galway Kinnell read two poems that won my heart for the day; in honor of the event, I’m including here my all-time favorite of his poems. Find it, and more, on the Poetry Foundation’s website, as well as in his many books.