A poetical celebration of David Wagoner’s birth, life and poetry.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble Bookseller
3311 Tittabawassee Rd.
Saginaw , MI 48603
Who should come
Join us if you love poetry or are curious as to what poetry is all about. Join us if you'd like to talk to people whose hearts and minds are more open than closed. Join us if you can agree or disagree with someone's opinion respectfully. Bring a book if you can. It’s OK if it’s from your library. Note: David Wagoner will not be joining our group.
Find out what poems sound like out loud. Listen in on the group and then find a place where you can jump in and read something yourself. Great fun for the whole family. If you have specialized knowledge regarding our poet, do not hesitate to regale us with your story. Don't expect to leave our event with a definitive understanding of the poet or the poems but please do seek to experience and communicate the joys of poetry with others. Join in our informal discussion of poems we know and love and poems we are only just discovering. Better readers make better writers. Visit with our group where everyone's poetry is valued if not appreciated. If you have a smile to share be sure to bring it; otherwise be prepared to leave with one on your face and in your heart. If you're too far away to join us, create your own Birthdays of Poets Reader’s Workshop. Speak up now and forever share your peace. Tell (bring!) a friend.
How to find the organizer(s)
We are in the Poetry section, near the window that affords a view of Tittabawassee Road. The staff at Barnes & Noble will put up a sign that says 'This space reserved for The River Junction Poets at 7 p.m.' We'll be getting a few folding chairs to add around the coffee table there.
Born (June 5, 1926) in Ohio and raised in Indiana, Midwesterner Wagoner has been initially influenced by family ties, ethnic neighborhoods, industrial production and pollution, and the urban environment. His move to the Pacific Northwest in 1954, the result of his teacher and friend Theodore Roethke's recommending he apply for a teaching position at the University of Washington, changed both his outlook and his poetry. Writing in the Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series, Wagoner recalls how "when I drove down out of the Cascades and saw the region that was to become my home territory for the next thirty years, my extreme uneasiness turned into awe. I had never seen or imagined such greenness, such a promise of healing growth. Everything I saw appeared to be living ancestral forms of the dead earth where I'd tried to grow up."
Although Wagoner has written numerous novels, Robert Cording believes that "it is Wagoner's poetry on which his reputation will rest," for Cording notes that for Wagoner, writing poetry is "a constant attempt to break through the barriers between interior and exterior so that whatever lies behind 'the dark window' might be revealed." Leonard Neufeldt calls Wagoner "simply, one of the most accomplished poets currently at work in and with America." "His range and mastery of subjects, voices, and modes, his ability to work with ease in any of the modes (narrative, descriptive, dramatic, lyric, anecdotal) and with any number of species (elegy, satirical portraiture, verse editorial, apostrophe, jeremiad, and childlike song, to name a few) and his frequent combinations of a number of these into astonishingly compelling orchestrations provide us with an intelligent and convincing definition of genius."
Excerpted from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poet.html?id=7134 accessed 5/24/08
For a Student Sleeping in a Poetry Workshop
by David Wagoner
I've watched his eyelids sag, spring open
Vaguely and gradually go sliding
Shut again, fly up
With a kind of drunken surprise, then wobble
Peacefully together to send him
Home from one school early. Soon his lashes
Flutter in REM sleep. I suppose he's dreaming
What all of us kings and poets and peasants
Have dreamed: of not making the grade,
Of draining the inexhaustible horn cup
Of the cerebral cortex where ganglions
Are ganging up on us with more connections
Than atoms in heaven, but coming up once more
Empty. I see a clear stillness
Settle over his face, a calming of the surface
Of water when the wind dies. Somewhere
Down there, he's taking another course
Whose resonance (let's hope) resembles
The muttered thunder, the gutter bowling, the lightning
Of minor minions of Thor, the groans and gurgling
Of feral lovers and preliterate Mowglis, the songs
Of shamans whistled through bird bones. A worried neighbor
Gives him the elbow, and he shudders
Awake, recollects himself, brings back
His hands from aboriginal outposts,
Takes in new light, reorganizes his shoes,
Stands up in them at the buzzer, barely recalls
His books and notebooks, meets my eyes
And wonders what to say and whether to say it,
Then keeps it to himself as today's lesson.
Source: Poetry (October 2002).
From http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=30899 accessed 5/24/08
Expect more at the Birthdays of Poets Blog. Go now.
All best and see you Wednesday,
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Research indicates that better readers make better writers. Maybe this is why, in the Poet's Market, editors of literary magazines often recommend poets read more poetry. Are you not aware? You are a cultural event, and so is everyone else. Celebrate (poetry) together. May God continue to bless us mightily one and all. Be sure to thank a veteran for his/her service. Remember: only you can improve the audience for poetry. Please read, discuss and share responsibly. And vote.
-- "It is our goal to appreciate and improve our talents, to share our own work and to communicate the joys of poetry with others. Everyone's poetry is valued."
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