Our annual picnic which took place on Sept. 12 on the picnic grounds at Western Carolina University, brought out some good food and even better words shared by our members and guests. Special guest Cathy Smith Bowers, our current Poet Laureate, read work from her most recent collections. She came with friend Jeff Davis, a poet from Asheville, who was in graduate school with me years ago. His blog is Natures (www.naturespoetry.blogspot.com). Give it a look. Cathy herself is learning her way around cyberspace. She now has a facebook page and is working on a website. Her New and Selected Poems will be out in November from Press 53 in Winston-Salem.
(Cathy and Jeff)
An old friend, George Ellison (www.georgeellison.com), came to visit, along with his wife, the painter Elizabeth Ellison, and treated us to some of the new work in his ongoing Permanent Camp manuscript, including a sonnet by his dog Zeke. George hopes to bring out this manuscript under his Unaka Range imprint soon. Some of you may remember the journal Unaka Range from several decades ago, its attempt to give voice to WNC poets. If so, you can see how George's new work has special resonance.
“If there was a dog heaven … a simulated sonnet,”
There would be mountains and valleys like these.
There would be a swift creek to drink from and wade in.
There would be bear brutes and wild hogs from hell to fight.
There would be lesser critters galore: coons weasels coyotes et al.
There would be a pinkish-white horse and a black barn cat to chase.
There would be a woman to walk with me feed me and fuss at me.
There would be a man who talks with me and writes poems about me.
There would be better company dog-wise than is presently the case.
There would be a dog like Maggie, now dead, who (or whom) I still miss.
There would be a house like this to sleep in and a deck to lie on.
There would be a tree-lined meadow across the swift creek and
a trail alongside the creek that leads into a
dark forest of smells and sounds … if there
was a dog heaven it would be like this.
After several readings by Nancy Simpson, Brenda Kay Ledford, Linda Smith, and others, we broke for food! Need I say more?
After supper Angela Dove read from her recently published book.
Followed by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who drove up from South Carolina.
JC Walkup was on hand to share her fiction.
Even Lord Byron was there, charming Netwest member Deanna Klingel. I didn't want to leave him in the house on such a beautiful September afternoon. I am wondering when, or if, he will ever write a sonnet!
Thanks to all who came to this event. We hope you will continue to support Netwest in the months to come.