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Center Stage: Annual Writers Read marks 35 years of shared poetry

By Staff | Apr 16, 2019

Marsha Wagner

It’s hard to believe that Writers Read recently celebrated its 35th anniversary. It seems only yesterday that I attended the first one under the careful dedication of its founder, Winnie Donahue. But then as now Writers Read is a testament of the creative abilities and courage that our residents express in poetry and prose. These are avocational writers for the most part; people, who found their voices when they retired from the real world, and migrated to the safety of our sanctuary island.

Moderator Joe Pacheco opened with a welcoming tidbit, then proceeded to introduce our first reader, Mort Levy. Levy gave us a thumbnail, hilarious version concerning his birth entrance into this world, titled “I Enter the Scene.” His timing was off until his frustrated Dad and Mom got things moving with a bumpy ride on some railroad tracks, and a raunchy, shock producing visit to a local Burly Que show; and voila Levy made his entrance. This labor induced entrance produced gales of giggles from the delighted audience.

Writer Sandy Greco shifted the mood to a meaningful look back at mixed couples dating in a piece titled “The Rainbow Room 1979.” The Rainbow Room was a swank, supper club in midtown New York City.

“My Sister’s Husband,” the poem that followed, dealt with the reflections on the unseen scars left on this veteran, after fighting in the Vietnam War.

Nancy Carlisle related a tender tale of a poor neighbor’s son, finding a world of friendship, fun and games at the Carlyle home with her brothers, sisters, mom and dad; called “Ricky Remembers.”

Carol Zell used the image of The Elephant On, the Page, to perfectly describe what “writer’s block” feels like.

Dawn Schumann took us on a magical journey to far off Tibet, and the city of Lhasa, which is full of pilgrims, bejeweled temples, and Buddhas.

Chris Godwin painted mental word pictures in “Tangled,” “Just Now” and “From the Headlines.” Words can paint even better pictures than oils, water colors, pastels, or even crayons.

Jean Jensen tugged at heartstrings and played a psalm of courage, love, compassion and healing in her version of An Ode to Joy in her poem “Medical Mystery.” Thank you, Jensen, for sharing and reminding us what faith looks like.

Pacheco read for Richard Fox, one of the wonderful Uncle Louis stories; this is a guy who swears like a trooper, a fella small size but big in courage, with guts enough to lick anybody in “Uncle Louis Avenges the Playground.”

After intermission Renny Severance – former editor of the Islander newspaper and a dear friend – read Bob Maxeiner’s witty telling of the “Interview,” an in-depth cross-examination by a college professor of a young, male frat. Member, questioning his take on and off campus activities such as drinking, carousing, loud or lewd language. All this before dating the prof’s young daughter. Severance played this script to the hilt proving not only was he a great newspaper editor but he also has acting chops. Well done, writer and reader.

Ariel O’Hara’s “All Things Chinese” turned out to be reflections on China before and after the “people’s revolution.” O’Hara questions how much was gained and how much was lost. Powerful reflection on political wins and losses.

Lorraine Walker Williams pondered the changes one experiences when selling and leaving a beloved island home, in her evocative “Last Look.” The next poem “Saw” told of her dad’s tool shed where the saw hangs. She suggests its many different purposes; a saw is used to sever, to expose, to prepare what is slices for diverse functions. “Fashion Retrospective” examined “fitting in,” more than a fashion statement.

Mary Donovan gave us a sneak peek on “How Really Good Friends Go to the Movies.” You bet, I’m not going to give away what happens in the dark. That this poem got high marks on the giggle meter, is all you’re getting from me.

Bob Hilliard may have titled his sonnet “Death” but to me it was a reminder to live life to the fullest; that age is only a number, life is not a dress rehearsal, but the real thing. My takeaway, live large! Thanks Hilliard, “Right on” – and do “write on.”

Ed Sessa gave us a fish story titled “Finding Nemo,” a cute little fish tank resident clownfish. Turns out Nemo the fish is a reminder of a family relative, a fish tale character that swims through life much the same as his finny counterpart. This fish tale came off swimmingly well!

Pacheco closed Writers Read by reading his tribute poem dedicated to the memory of local painter and friend, Florida native and renowned artist Hollis Jeffcoat, featuring her painting of a jellyfish titled “Medusa Jellyfish.” Pacheco and Jeffcoat partnered in a past season edition of Art Poems. What a loving memorial of a fine artist who like the jellyfishes that inspired her, to “live exactly as she needed to.”

To which I can only add that like Pacheco and all the rest of our writers, they too do exactly what they need to do; and that is in writing.

Thank you one and all for sharing yourselves and your creative abilities.

Wow! Writers one and all, write on and on.