Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Poetry Reading, May 17, 2009: Irene Mitchell and Paul Genega

“I’ve been listening to Irene Mitchell’s poetry for more than five years,” said Craig Hancock as he introduced the poet to the listening audience at the Kinderhook Memorial Library. “She pays a great deal of attention to language, but the language choice is always in service of the poem. Irene, like the best of poets, writes poems which are particular and universal – both at the same time.”
Mitchell, whose new collection, Sea Wind on the White Pillow, was just published by Axes Mundi Press, talked to the audience about her poetic style. “Nowadays,” she said, “poetry is a little pill, easily swallowed, instantly digestible. I strive to go beyond that prescription, preferring to write poetry that is remarkable for its layers of meaning, its musical quality, its blending of playfulness and profound seriousness.”
These are the qualities, among others, Mitchell finds in the work of poet Paul Genega, who shared the limelight that evening. Genega is the author of four full-length collections and four chapbooks. His awards include an individual fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the “Discovery”/The Nation Prize, and a citation in this year’s Allen Ginsberg Awards.
Among those present at the reading were Daniela Bertol, publisher of Axes Mundi Press, James Werkowski, Linda and Emily Bonin, Carol Derfner, Julie Johnson, Mark Hirschberg, and others who came to lend an ear to poetry. The poets signed copies of their collections following the reading at the library in Kinderhook, New York.