Saturday, September 5, 2020

Second Sunday Reading Series Goes Zooming

Photo courtesy Gary Firstenberg
Covid-19 has thrown a monkey wrench into everything that involves gathering live and in person, from marathons to Major League Baseball. Our Duluth Toastmasters group has been meeting via Zoom and starting next weekend a Second Sunday Reading Series for poetry fans will begin.

Here's the straight dope.

The Duluth Poet Laureate Project announces the “Second Sunday Reading Series,” three online open poetry readings organized by Gary Boelhower, 2018-2020 Duluth Poet Laureate. The monthly readings will take place from 3-4 pm. on Sunday afternoon, September 13th, October 11th, and November 8th. Each month's reading will feature two local poets whose presentations will be followed by an open reading. The reading on September 13th will feature Phil Fitzpatrick and Daniel Oyinloye; October 11th will feature Deborah Cooper and John Herold; and the reading on November 8th will feature Sheila Packa and Blair Powless.

All three poetry readings will be offered through the ZOOM online video communications technology. The public is invited to view the readings through a ZOOM online portal; please register for one, two or all the programs with Gary Boelhower through email, Poets who wish to participate in the open reading segment should contact Gary Boelhower with the date they wish to be placed on the program.

The Duluth Poet Laureate Project began in 2005 and is funded by donations from The Friends of the Duluth Public Library, Lake Superior College, and the English departments at the College of Saint Scholastica, UMD, and by generous individuals. The Zeitgeist Community Arts Center is the fiscal sponsor. More information can be found at

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As friends and followers know, I enjoy reading and writing poetry myself, this year more than ever. This past week I have been reading Kazuo Ishiguro's heartbreakingly beautiful novel Never Let Me Go. One of the themes in the book has to do with things said and unsaid. There's a line in Charlene Groves' poem Emptiness that speak to this feature of life as regards matters of the heart and the manner in which we veil ourselves, conceal ourselves within ourselves. Charlene wrote this poem several decades past, but it could just as easily have been written during this period of Covid-19 lockdown.

Here's a poem of my own, most definitely inspired by this 2020 cultural anomaly. It's called The Mask Police.

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