Too many people and organizations to thank--Kathryn Wilde for taking the reins of the student field trip portion of the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival and for being my travel companion and map manager for the trip; thanks to Meredith McGann and Danielle Greene for traveling with our twenty-three students and SU intern Jacob Anderson; thanks to our students for making this Dodge Festival special; and to the Dodge staff--wonderful event.
We came home awash with words strung so beautifully together that I was mute when asked about the festival. How can you express the sheer brilliance of these people? They are the bright beads on a necklace woven from so many experiences--love, hurt, pleasure, and pain. Wrap that up in a package of lines, the slim sounds of language punctuated by breath, and I am amazed that we don't dissolve in the distillation of crystalized emotion.
I am humbled. Quite simple. Most memorable--Jericho Brown, Gregory Pardlo, Elizabeth Alexander, and the man who made me sob--Forrest Gander. Like other festivals, I had close encounters with a few poets. Juan Felipe Herrera is a gentleman--curious about others, eager to hear about teaching, and a damn good salesman for his own books. David St. John was sweet and eager to talk in a shy way. I am not gushy or intrusive--so many of these poets are there to read or discuss and then hear what others have to say.
Poetry is a reciprocal gift. A perfect re-gift. I walk the dog and watch the leaves change thinking that is poetry. Greeting my students at the door is poetry. You just have to listen for the rhythm and the beauty.
J D Cooper
Author of the Lilac Hill series, The Portia Journal, other novels and countless short stories