Poetry with a beat

Poetry with a beat
Barbara Lawlor

In the midst of February snow and slightly longer days, the Gilpin County Library’s Mid-Winter Night’s Poetry Reading is a brilliance of words and a flare of rhythm that incites the senses. The reading last Saturday featured a new poet and the introduction of percussion to enhance the cadence of Christine Weeber’s reading.
The annual winter gathering at the library is a place for area poets to munch on appetizers, to hear what their peers are writing and to read their own words, as only they know how.
Gilpin Librarian Larry Grieco welcomed a packed room and proceeded to read a handful of Richard Brautigan’s short poems, each of which, in a few sentences, delivered a punch.
Jackie St. Joan, poet, novelist, lawyer and judge, read from her work, “The Drama of the Long Distance Runner.”
Denver Poet Phil Woods, a retired school teacher, said he was committed to poetry and that he had been a jock in high school and still questions how poetry has become a necessity in his life.
“My heroes have ranged from Vince Lombardi to Bob Dylan. Now I am old and I just want to be me.”
Woods read from his latest book, Lucid Dreaming. Don’t let pain lead you to forget the beauty, he told the listeners. He also said the days of the Boomer activists are over. “The CIA and the FBI no longer stay awake at night, worrying about the radicals in the nursing homes. The Boomers have turned into adults who worry about their kids and their mortgage.”
Woods, the special guest of the night, was a passionate reader with wisdom in his eyes and a thunder in his voice.
Christine Weeber, a regular poetry reader and former artist-in-residence, introduced Andre Mallinger, also a former artist-in-residence who brought a large assortment of instruments, including a thumb piano, a Zimbabwe shaker, a frog that croaks and a tinkling bell.
Weeber began with Eight Pebbles, Haikus with a winter nature theme. Mallinger accompanied the words with lingering notes, staccato emphasis, and heartbeat rhythms that added resonance to the lyric. She made instrumental wind, gliding water, dancing sunlight and exotic warmth, sounding at times like a whole band.
It was a new way to listen to poetry and one that was appreciated by the audience, also poets who awaited their turn to take the microphone.
Poets Carla Schorzman, Marcelo Games and Kayanne Pickens read from their most recent works followed by an open mike session.
The next reading will take place mid-summer and will be appropriately named, The Mid-Summer Night’s Poetry Reading. Date and time will be announced. Local poets or poetry lovers are welcome to attend and take part in the reading.