Poets Read Poetry Goes Public

Poems That Make Us Nervous was the theme of PRP’s first public event. A smashing success! A capacity crowd gathered at the BeanRunner Cafe in Peekskill, New York. The microphones worked…the set that imitated my living room was delightful…the cappuccinos hot and foamy. But, most important was the energy of the audience: They wanted in on the poetry discussion!

We used the same format as we do at our monthly meetings–We choose a theme, this time it was Poems That Make Us Nervous. Each of us selects a poem on the theme and reads it aloud. Then we discuss  it for 15 minutes. At the BeanRunner we invited the audience to participate. And they did..with vigor. Hands were raised. Points were made. Memories of childhood experiences with poetry were shared. A elderly woman seated way in the back popped-up twice to say: “I’ll stick with Keats,’ Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ that is all/ye on earth need to know.

As a tribute to her passion, here is the last stanza of  Ode on a Grecian Urn:

O Attic shape! Fair Attitude! with brede
Of Marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in the midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

John Keats

Next time: Andrew on “understanding ”  and his choice of This Living Hand by Keats for Poems That Make Us Nervous.

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