Last night's 250-mile drive (round trip) to hear poets Anne Marie Macari and Gerald Stern read was worth every minute of travel. Gerald Stern, amusing and somber in turns, is at the peak of his career and delighted in reading five poems at least 25 years old, and seven new ones, and earned a standing ovation from the crowd in Henniker, NH.
But it was Macari that stunned. Her recently released collection Gloryland (through Alice James Books) takes the drama of God and woman and childbirth/nurture into such deep, rich waters (see my review at www.KingdomBks.com) that listening to her read the poems aloud, in her careful resonant voice, was the jewel of the night. But -- whoah! -- the follow-up collection she's giving birth to, from which she read "raw" month-old stanzas, is going to rock feminist poetry and theology and passion. It's no less than an entire re-visioning of the Garden. Wouldn't be fair to say more now, and she's clearly in early stages, but this is a good moment to snag a copy of Gloryland and drink up the foundation she pours in it. What a poet!
(Joan Larkin read; her poets are intimate and minimalist at once, and she announced publication of a "new and selected" for 2007. Upcoming New England readings to mark on the calendar -- see separate blog entry.)