Poets Read Poetry began simply: I wanted to read more poetry and I wanted to feel less isolated while living in the country during winter. I knew Jo, and Frank and Andrew. I liked how their minds worked. I knew they were all poets, too. On a whim I phoned them and asked if they’d like to meet at my house and discuss an idea I had for a poets group. Each said “yes” almost before I’d finished the question. After the initial meeting we knew we had something good.
Our premise is simple: the four of us meet once a month for two hours. We have a topic for each meeting and each of us brings one poem with copies for all. The poem is read aloud and we discuss it for 15 minutes. We operate on a very intuitive, imaginative, free associative level. We’re neither analytic nor academic. Each month we leave time at to come up with the next theme. We also spend some time discussing where we each are in our writing lives.
Soon after the group began I decided to create a blog based on the group. I called it “Poets Read Poetry” and use the group’s poetry selections as a basis for my entries.
Poets Read Poetry Bios
Poets Read Poetry from left to right: Andrew Acciaro, Jo Pitkin, Frank Ortega and Pamela Manché Pearce. Photo: Howard Goodman.
Andrew Accario works as a bookseller. He writes poetry and reads and performs his work, hosting literary events at venues along the Hudson. Presently Andrew acts as both poet and MC for the performance troupe *The Panic Buttons.*
Frank Ortega has had work published by The Madison Review, Colorado Review, Ferro-Botanica, Seneca Review, Z Miscellaneous, Downtown, Amicus Journal, Paragraph, and most recently in the latest issue of Oberon as well as Lost Horse Press in Go to the Ruined Place, an anthology of human rights poetry. He has been awarded writing residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Edward F. Albee Foundation, Karolyi Foundation (France), Dorland Mountain and Millay Colony for the Arts, and a Poetry Fellowship from The New York Foundation for the Arts. He has read in New York City at the Poetry Society of America, Knitting Factory, New York Public Library, Brecht Forum, CB’s 313 and Barrow Street Poets. His most recent performance reading s were “Fifty States,” at Cornelia Street Café (NYC) and “Louisiana Voices” at Time and Space Limited (Hudson, NY) and he was recently awarded a performance grant from Poets & Writers, Inc. In March he was invited to London as Commendation Winner in the annual contest sponsored by The Poetry Society of the United Kingdom.
For Pamela Manché Pearce, William James best describes her adolescent experience: “Most of us can remember the strangely moving power of passages in certain poems read when we were young, irrational doorways as they were through which the mystery of fact, the wildness and the pang of life stole our hearts and thrilled them,” and she has never lost, also in the words of James, her “mystical susceptibility.” Over the decades she has published in many genres: poetry; essay; short story; memoir; review; interview and journalism, both in the United States and internationally. Pamela Manché Pearce, former Director of Events and Publicity for PEN American Center, the international organization of literary writers, reflects proudly on her 15 years with the organization and her production of more than 200 literary events.
Jo Pitkin holds an M.F.A. from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. She is the author of The Measure (Finishing Line Press), and her poems have been published in Ironwood, Quarterly West, Nimrod International Journal, Vanguard Voices of the Hudson Valley—Poetry 2007, Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers, Stone Canoe, Poets for Living Waters, Universe at Your Door: The Slabsides Poets, and other magazines and anthologies. She has won numerous awards and honors, including the Eighth Annual George A. Watrous Poetry Prize from Kirkland College, the First Annual Hudson Valley Poetry Contest, Lyra’s Fourth Annual Poetry Prize, and Third Prize in both the Connecticut River Review and Vanguard Voices of the Hudson Valley competitions.