Rensselaerville Library Notes for Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Rensselaerville Library is holding its annual Poetry Month Celebration with Conkling Hall to engage the community in poetry; the library received the Upper Hudson Library System 2012 Library Program of the Year for rural and small libraries for a similar program.

Attention — cowgirls and cowboys, naturalists and farmers, humor lovers and word lovers, musicians and friends: You don’t have to be a poet to enjoy poetry.

Thursday celebrations

The month begins with the first of four Thursday celebrations — relaxing and stimulating evenings at the library, listening, reading and discussing poetry with friends and neighbors: 

— On April 3 at 7 p.m.: Poetic Humor, Laughing Our Way into Poetry Month, hosted by Richard Ronconi, teacher, beekeeper, and occasional writer.

As a teacher, he found humor to be a good “entrance” into poetry. 

We don’t always connect poetry with humor. Often we think of a poem as an expression of beauty, love, or some other deep emotion. Humor is also an emotion favored in poetry. Together, let’s read some light-hearted poems that have been written by some distinguished and not-so-distinguished poets to make us laugh and have fun. This hour is for readers of all ages, so kids, teens, and adults, let’s cheer each other up with an hour of fun poems; 

— On April 10 at 7 p.m.: How to Read, and Perhaps Enjoy, Very New Poetry, hosted by Tom Corrado, poet and coordinator of the Library’s Poetry Group. 

Isn’t poetry poetry? Isn’t all poetry the same? Using sound, imagery and concision to tell a story, convey a message, extract meaning from experience? Isn’t new poetry pretty much like old poetry? Simply new wine in old bottles? Not really! Some interesting things are happening in poetry, and new poets are shepherding poetry into new arenas, crafting poems that at times can be intimidating, befuddling, seemingly meaningless. Find out about new poetry and new poets; 

— On April 17 at 7 p.m.: Birds, Bees, Trees, and more: The Poetry of Nature, hosted by Virginia Carter, teacher, artist, and bird-watcher. 

Poets have always been inspired by nature, from the ancient Greeks to contemporary poets. Enjoy an evening reading, listening to, and discussing a variety of poetry that was inspired by the natural world; and

— On April 24 at 7 p.m.: Easy Chairs and Saddle Sores: Cowboy Poetry hosted by Janet Botaish, Equine Specialist, EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) certified.

“To me, horses and freedom are synonymous,” said Veryl Goodnight. 

Cowboy poems have a life of their own. They are built with words that are spawned not only from labor, but also from an occupation with which the poet’s very existence is expressly linked. A cowboy or rancher lives where he or she works, and what they do in their work determines their survival. This is the essence of cowboy poetry. Come and be enchanted by words, both old and new, that are attached to a life few know firsthand. 

Three more events

These are the other Poetry Month events:

— On Saturday, April 12, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Conkling Hall: Inspiration: An Afternoon of Music and Poetry hosted by Peter Boudreaux, musician and writer 

This event features poet and Whitman scholar Howard Nelson, who will read from his own work including All the Earthly Lovers: Poems Selected and New due out this spring, as well as from the poets who inspired him; soprano Sarah Nelson Weiss who will perform an original piece inspired by Walt Whitman and composed and performed by Peter Boudreaux; the wonderful Village Voices; and Musicians Dian Ryan and Hank LaBrecque who will share pieces inspired by poetry or written by folk-poet songwriters; 

— On Saturday, April 26, at 11:30 a.m., enjoy your Saturday morning cup of coffee with guest poet Marilyn McCabe 

Marilyn’s poem “On Hearing the Call to Prayer Over the Marcellus Shale on Easter Morning” was awarded A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Orlando Prize in the fall of 2012 and appeared in the Los Angeles Review. Her book of poetry, Perpetual Motion, was published by The Word Works in 2012 as the winner of the Hilary Tham Capitol Collection contest. Her work has appeared in literary magazines such as Nimrod, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and Painted Bride Quarterly; French translations and songs on Numero Cinq; and a video-poem on The Continental Review; and 

— Sunday, April 27, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Conkling Hall: Now It’s Your Turn!

All are invited to read a favorite poem at our annual Favorite Poem Project emceed once again by the inimitable writer/actress/reverend Claire North. The Favorite Poem Project, part of a national movement begun by former poet laureate of the United States, Robert Pinsky, encourages communities to come together to share poetry.

Over the past eight years, neighbors and friends have gathered to read aloud their favorite poems, everything from the silly to the serious, favorites from childhood as well as adulthood. Bring a favorite poem to this year’s event. If you are a writer, you may also bring one original (as well as one favorite) poem or other short piece to share. Of course, you can come just to listen. 

All events are free although donations to the library are welcome. 

Refreshments will be served at all Poetry Month events. 

For more information about any of these events, call the Rensselaerville Library at 797-3949 or visit the library’s website at

Please note: Conkling Hall is located at 8 Methodist Hill Road in Rensselaerville. All events not in Conkling Hall will be held at the Rensselaerville Library, 1459 County Route 351, Rensselaerville.