Peace by Piece

433 Main Street
Stroudsburg, PA
March 21, 22, 23, 2003
The Art Work and Artists' Reception The Music and Poetry Readings
  Poetry to Follow ASAP

Maggie Martin, the dean of Pocono poets, started off by reading two poems, and then Charlie Tweedie, our resident Buddha-blacksmith, read two (Note: when those texts become available, they will be put up on this site, along with texts of the other poets’ original works read on Sunday), to a crowded, appreciative audience inside the brick-walled storefront-gallery. Both Maggie’s and Charlie’s poems were, as expected, oblique, meditative reflections on the current madness.

Charlie Tweedie
Maggie Martin
After them, the Anita Bondi Dance Troupe performed, in black costumes, chanting improvised texts to the accompaniment of three drummers, the total effect being blood-chilling in its directness about the effects of war on children.
Then there was a break, and Jan Selving, the MC for the day, called for three poets, Deirdre Milks (reading Ursula Le Guin’s "American Wars," and her own "Listen!") followed by Denise McKellick (with Nikki Giovanni’s "The Self-Evident Poem" and her own post-9-11 poem, "Changed Easily Without Pressure" – (text attached), and then your reporter, with WB Yeats’ powerful late poem, "Lapis Lazuli" and his own "The Wicker Duck," a 28-year-old poem about Alysoun Niamh McLaughlin’s first cradle, with the audience joining in the final couplet by request (text also to be made available).
Anita Bondi
Deirdre Milk
Denise McKellick
John McLaughlin

Afterwards, Rick Madigan, the basketball-player-tall poet who also writes the program for the annual Delaware Water Gap Jazz Festival, read two poems by the deceased WWII poet Keith Douglas, and Jan Selving, his almost-equally-tall wife and MC for the afternoon, read one of her own poems and a lovely poem to George Bush by Thomas McGrath, to close off the poetry reading for the afternoon (again, the text of Jan’s poem will be made available as soon as possible).

Rick Madigan
Andrea Susan and Jan
Jan Selving
Before the jazz which closed out the entertainment for the afternoon, Katie and Richie Roche, backed by Dennis McGrath on percussion, delivered a brief set highlighted by John Lennon’s "Imagine," the audience singing along, and an amusing, expert parody of "It Ain’t Necessarily So" – ("True Peace Doesn’t Come Out of War") that had the audience laughing along.
The crowd had thinned out a little by the time the Jay Rattman Group stepped up to the mike. Jay, a three-times COTA Cat (they’re an auditioned group of high school jazz musicians who perform each year at the annual Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts and Jazz Festival, with Phil Woods and other local luminaries) on sax, Bobby Avey on synthesizer, and Mike Pacanowski on Charlie-Christian-style electric guitar. The trio delivered an lovely set, opening with a soft, meandering delivery of Victor Young’s "Beautiful Love," followed by a jump version of "Autumn Leaves" ("because it’s Spring," Jay explained – it’s that jazz musician’s sense of humor), and closing with an unnamed Charlie Parker piece on which all three took advantage of the music to stretch out and take intricate, absorbing solos in turn. The Republic of Jazz which is the Poconos is in safe hands.
Kate and Richie Roche
Bobby Avey, Mike Pacanowski and Jay Rattman
So we hung around afterwards, as the artists came to collect their works and just hang with one another for a while, and eventually it became six o’clock and we had to walk Jamie’s big fresco, "The Demands of the Indigenous Farmers" back up the street to her studio. It was a lovely Spring weekend, and we wish you’d been here. It was, as Jamie remarked when we were getting in the car to come home, a little "shelter from the storm," for which we’d both like to thank all the artists who participated, either with visual works, with poetry, or with dance, or music, and all the people who made up the large audience for the gallery showing on Friday and Saturday, and for the performances on Sunday afternoon. This is the Poconos we know and love. I think Marilyn’s OK – John
PS: There’s a selection of the paintings from this show elsewhere on this webpage, and a link to Jamie’s gallery, where they may also be seen, at Thank you again to Susan Bradford, Andrea Levergood, Jan Selving, Steve Linden and Eleanor Clarkson for helping to put this show together, and for renting the storefront-gallery for the weekend.