Sunday, September 9, 2007

President of New England Poetry Club thinks back about Jack...

Diana Der-Hovanessian writes about Jack.

Diana has been the head of the New England Poetry Club for many years. Diana Der-Hovanessian’s 23rd book "The Second Question" was published this year by Sheep Meadow Press. She was Fulbright professor of American poetry twice and taught workshops on the poetry of human rights, translation, and writing at various universities. She was a visiting poet in the Mass. schools for 18 years. Her work has appeared in American Scholar, Paris Review, Poetry, Nation, etc. and has won awards such as an NEA fellowship, P.E.N./Columbia grant, the Paterson Prize, the Armand Erpf translation award. She is president of New England Poetry Club.

Join us for a celebration of Jack Powers' birthday Sept 15 5PM 30 Gordon St. Allston, Mass. Potluck dinner-- open mic-- Sidewalk Sam, Linda Larson, Marc Widershien, Bob Clawson, Dough Holder and others to read... Music from the "Blue Dust Drifters" and Jennifer Matthews.

A Letter for Diana-Der Hovanessian...

Jack and I were very young when we met. (Would you believe,
at a Harvard Extension school class given by Professor Theodore
Morrison on Creative Writing? )

He was young and handsome;I had just come home to Cambridge from New York. (My husband wanted to live in Utah, I wanted to stay in NY...we had compromised on Boston.)

I was already writing poetry and having some successes because
New England Poetry Club soon pressed me into membership and
their board. I hadn't even known it was prestigious. Jack asked
if I could help him become a member. He has stayed a member ever since.
Everyone says Jack is the most generous person in poetry. I can add, Yes, I know. He never stopped asking me to do readings for Stone Soup...even though I kept telling him,I loved writing but hated reading. He had me as the opener for Lawrence Ferlinghetti. And for Lyn Lifshin.

Each time he moved to a different venue
he insisted I had to help break it in. "Jack" I'd say," I'll come
but honestly I don't know how much good it will do."
"It will help us both, you and me,"
he insisted. He has a gift for warm friendships...and a gift for gab both serious and entertaining.

I remember the wonderful
talk he gave at the first panel discussion I organized for
the Boston Globe Book Festival. He was the expert on the vox populi
and the street poets, the small press poets, the self published poets, reminding us how Whitman started. The other people I remember
on the panel were founders of the original Poets Theater, and
Peter Davison for the literary press. It was a great panel. And Jack the most memorable.

And speaking of memory there were the Jack years at City Hall when we had poetry there. One was a great program called "First Ladies.." Jack and I invited the mayor's wife, the governor's wife, and some tv and radio women announcers to read from Anne Bradstreet, Phyllis Wheatley, Emily Dickinson . We had Frances Minturn Howard reading her grandmother's poem, The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Thank you Jack for the lovely memories, and mostly for being yourself, Jack Powers,friend, poet, powerful advocate for poetry in Boston . Diana Der-Hovanessian

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