Professors Pitch Prose at Inquiring Minds

Inquiring Minds, a local discount bookstore located off Church Street, hosted a poetry reading on Friday, Feb. 4.  The event featured the works of SUNY New Paltz professors Frank Boyer and Howard Good.  Due to anticipated inclement weather, poet Barbara Blatner postponed her participation in the event.

“I didn’t want to get caught upstate,” said Blatner.  “I’m very sorry to have missed it, but I’m hoping to reschedule.”

Still, the store employees prepared for the event in good faith.  Mary Felice, Inquiring Minds employee, expressed her enduring excitement.“I think it’s going to be great,” she said as she arranged chairs in rows amongst the bookshelves.  Soft jazz music played in the background over the steady hum of the ceiling fan.

In spite of possible weather complications, college students and townspeople filtered in as Boyer and Good mingled before their performances.  The audience fell silent for the readers.

Boyer, an Art Education adjunct faculty member, stood holding a pile of folded papers and introduced his first piece as “a response to a poem by Emily Dickinson.”  Most of Boyer’s poetry was conversational in tone and focused on existential themes portrayed through images of nature.  Among his pieces were Senryu poems.

“They’re like comical Haikus,” said Boyer.  “They’re Haikus that can’t get into their swimming suits.”

Good, a Communications and Media professor, applauded Boyer’s work as he stood for his turn to read.  He began by explaining the prose-poetry genre of his pieces.

“They’re paragraphs that behave more like poems,” he said.  “There’s something sort of off about them, as there is about me.”

Good’s prose-poems expressed introspective themes through vibrant Cape Cod scenery and uniquely constructed metaphors.

“They portray a sense of the individual struggling to comprehend his or her place in a very problematic reality,” said Good.

The event culminated with a meet-and-greet with audience members.

“It’s really great to hear the voice of the authors,” said Mike Zelensky, a third-year physics major at SUNY New Paltz.  “You can hear the wonder and passion in the poetry.”

The authors’ publications, including Boyer’s chapbook, “Jumping Out of my Skin,” were displayed at a discounted price for the night of the reading.

Good will be reading again at the Unitarian Church in Kingston on March 19 at 7 p.m. and will be going on sabbatical in the fall to teach and travel in Belgium.  His new chapbook, “Disaster Mode,” can be purchased from Medulla Publishing.

The next Inquiring Minds poetry event will be held on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m., featuring Codhill Press Poets Dennis DohertyPauline Uchmanowicz and Brenda Bufalino.

Photos by Nicholas Dubois

Charlene V. Martoni

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