Thursday, July 19, 2018

At Breath and Matter-- A Day Ending with the Boston Sculptor's Gallery

  Left---Doug Holder   Right-- Dewitt Henry ( A founding editor of Ploughshares Magazine)

I am a man of simple pleasures. One of those pleasures is to walk. And Boston is still a walking city--although the landscape is greatly altered. So I left my comfortable abode in Somerville--and headed  across the Charles.  I always like to walk down Charles Street at the foot of Beacon Hill. I was almost swept away by the rush of tourists. There were a lot of new shops--but I was pleased to see Gary Drug was still standing--an old school drugstore--crammed with things to relieve what ails ya'--and all those little knickknacks. It brings me back to the stores of my childhood--the ones my dad took me to in the Bronx. As I traversed the Commons  I saw that Shakespeare's Richard lll was in rehearsal--my favorite by the Bard. I heard screams of horror waft across the Commons--as Richard put in full bloom his nefarious plans. I am going to grab lawn chair and see it one of these humid evenings-- I hope. Next a walk to my old haunt Jacob Wirth's--it was closed! I so wanted the classic house dark on this warm day. The sign said it is closed because a fire--but they will return-- I hope so--this place has marked so many phases of my life.  So I walked down to the Copley Plaza--and had a beer at the grand Oak Bar. The waitress saw I was hot--and said in heavily accented English, " Have a glass of water--it's good for you my dear." That and the amber ale left me restored. Next I walked down Dartmouth Street--past Villa Victoria--a famed housing project amidst the very gentrified South End. Then I wound up on Harrison Ave--part of the SOWA section of Boston-- a very artsy area with galleries, studios--oddly puncutated by the Pine Street Inn--a shelter for the homeless on the end of the block. I remember teaching Nick Flynn's memoir at Endicott College ("Another Bullshit Night in Suck City')  in my creative writing seminar. Much of the memoir takes place in the Inn.

I arrived at at my destination -- at the Breath and Matter exhibit--at the Boston Sculptor's Gallery. It was jammed packed--with folks viewing sculptures paired with poetry. Many of the poets and artists were present like, Wendy Drexler, Julia Shepley, Mary Bonina, Tomas O' Leary, Chris Smart, David Daniels, and many others were present. There was a reading after the reception. I had written an article in The Somerville Times about a number of the artist and poets at the event--and it seemed it was very well-received. It was great to hook up with DeWitt Henry--founder of Ploughares magazine. I have had the pleasure to interview him, and he has a new memoir out-- and he tells me he will have a launch at the Plough &Stars pub in Cambridge--where the magazine was founded.

Before I left Andy Morelin a sculptor and an organizer of the event told me that I was an " iconic character in the Boston poetry scene."  That was very nice to hear--indeed!

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