Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Bagel Bards

Any group that names itself "The Bagel Bards" can't take itself too seriously.  Irreverence rules at the 9 am to 12 noon, weekly Saturday morning meetings in Davis Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, at Au Bon Pain--I'd call it Au Mal Pain, though one Bard praises the frosted cinnamon rolls.  

Last Saturday morning, I asked this informal group of poets to jot down what they liked about the Bards.  "Being with The Bards is better than water boarding," Irene Koronas wrote.  "Saturday at the bards allows me to go unmedicated for the morning," another Bard commented.  And another, "Love it--love it.  It's the only place I can come and not be mugged."

Athena Pappas wrote a poem on the spot: "that moody cepheid/ clears the window/ for the bagel bards/unaware of my pulse."  For those of you, like me, who didn't know: a cepheid is a star that has used up its main supply of hydrogen fuel, is unstable and pulsates.

Sometimes a poet will read a finished poem--we are not a workshop--or bring his or her recently published book, but mostly we talk and laugh.

Doug Holder, who with Harris Gardner founded the group in 2004, remembers past meetings: "I know we had the noted Clayton Eshleman visit us.  His pants . . . looked for all the world like resplendent pajama bottoms."  He also heard Hugh Fox hold forth on his "theories of Mayan Culture and Kaballah."  Recently the poet and artist Irene Koronas told me about her 'course of study.'  She reads the books that come to her by chance.  Lately chance brought her a discarded carton of books by the Greek philosophers--did she pick them up out of the trash?  She's reading Plato, and when done with a book, blocks out certain words with colors.  I should have asked her, What colors, Irene?  And how do you decide what words get the color treatment?   Gloria Mindock will soon be traveling to Europe to read from her new collection of poems. She'll be spending time in Romania.  Why Romania, Gloria?

Here's to unstable, pulsating stars clearing the windows for this democratic group!  Anyone can join.

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