Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival: Poetry & Pride

Posted: October 16, 2012 in Events
Tags: , , , , ,

(Pictured, left to right: Timothy Liu, Henri Cole, Dan Bellm)

Description from the 2012 Festival’s guide:

“From Sappho to Whitman to Ginsberg to Rich, poetry as we know it would not exist without the contributions of the gay community. No doubt members of the gay community, like those of many other minorities, have found and forged some of their sense of community through the shared experiences and feelings communicated through poetry. How personal pride is discovered and fostered through poetry and the poetry community will be part of this conversation.”

What actually happened:
Not to harp on what wasn’t, but one of the scheduled panelists, Nikky Finney (pictured right), could not make it. This made the discussion rather lopsided in terms of which sex had its say, or as Henri Cole put it, a “matterhorn of cock.” Despite the panel being comprised entirely of males, there was a great diversity in personal experience and perspective … especially when the audience Q&A got rolling. Going in alphabetical order, each poet took turns revealing which poets/poems spoke to them initially, providing comfort in an openness and community which they had yet to know. One of the highlights of the discussion was Timothy Liu likening homosexuality to poetry in that both are something undefinable and affective but not necessarily without reason, a force that brings together the spiritual and the sexual. Another rather fascinating point was brought up by Dan Bellm, when he said the sense of community he’s experienced has existed less in flesh and blood than on the page, referring to a camaraderie he’s felt with poetry written by and reflecting the gay perspective rather than with most people in the world-at-large. Questions from the audience also brought up a lot of good talking points, so go ahead and check out the entirety of the discussion and Q&A below. It’s well worth the listen! Then maybe, if you think more discussions like this should take place, go donate a few bucks to the Foundation that made this possible.

Know your voices:
First speaker – Dan Bellm
Second speaker – Henri Cole
Third speaker – Timothy Liu

*This recording is not sanctioned by the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival or its associated Foundation and is solely offered in faith that 1) no-one reads this blog anyway, 2) it was for the benefit of poetry and those who appreciate poetry that the event took place, and 3) supposedly the Foundation’s own YouTube channel will soon offer coverage of this event anyhoo. In short: please don’t sue. Email me, and I will remove the link permanently as well as delete the files in question from their source.


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