Each summer the Center sponsors a Summer Festival, the headliner being barbecue, of course, followed by U Do Raku, giving folks a chance to paint and fire their own pots. The lines were long for this one! Nearby a couple of artists worked on portraits of the passers-by, and on the lawn in front of the Rock House, a tent was set up for Performances, which included those by me and story-teller Cathy Kaemmerlen, a NC native who now lives in Atlanta.
I read my poetry in the morning and the afternoon. In the audience were good friend and wonderful poet Becky Gould Gibson, doing a residency this summer, and John Skeen, a composer and artist from W. Virginia. John is setting several of the poems from my Catching Light for mezzo-soprano and piano. I found the three he had ready for listening strangely familiar, as if he knew the voice of those poems as well, if not better, than I.
Becky Gould Gibson and John Skeen
After the morning reading, I chatted awhile with Elizabeth Frost, from NYC, another poet doing a residency at the center. She told me she loved being out of the city, discovering new writers and artists in regions that many New Yorkers don't know, or care, about. "Parochial" is the word she used to decribe that attitude. An attitude artists in any genre have to confront!
After lunch I read again, my mountain women's voices from Black Shawl blending with the haunting voice of the young woman singing with Mountain Hoodoo. Then Cathy delighted us all with her performance of Eudora Welty's "Why I live at the P.O."
Go to the Hambidge Center's website to find out more about this beautiful haven for creative artists. (hambidge.org)
Oh, I almost forgot! The barbecue was pretty good, too.