2009-02-20 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Poets Old (Always Fresh) And New
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

"Geoff's Art Class Show" begins March 7, 2009 at RoCA, Fort Tilden. Pictured is Lynn Mazzo, one of the students in class. "Geoff's Art Class Show" begins March 7, 2009 at RoCA, Fort Tilden. Pictured is Lynn Mazzo, one of the students in class. Over the last week or so I have been reading a lot of poetry. Sorting books in my bookcase, contemplating consolidation.

Do I keep this thin volume by So And So?

I must have loved at least several of his pieces; why else did I buy it? Perhaps I will rediscover what I loved if I keep it and reread, just in the right mood; put on Palestrina to recreate just the right alchemy of music and words.

So as we near the end of Black History Month, I decide to peruse the Intenet to find contemporary African American poets to suggest you read - a writer with whom you may not be so familiar; someone new to you, and, perhaps to me. But I return to a favorite - Langston Hughes. Familiar to you? Yes, I think so. Worth, always, returning to? Without a doubt.

Born in Joplin, Missouri in 1902, Hughes began writing poetry in eighth grade. A poet, playwright, essayist and short story writer, creator of musicals and operas, he traveled extensively in Africa and Europe.

A lover of jazz and the blues, his poems reflect those rhythms; the rhythms of his times, that spanned the Harlem Renaissance. He said, "I tried to write poems like the songs they sang on Seventh Street ... [that] had the pulse beat of the people who keep on going." His much-honored, prolific career ended at his death in 1967. His residence at 20 East 127 Street in Harlem was given landmark status by the New York City Preservation Commission. The block of East 127 Street was renamed "Langston Hughes Place."

To fulfill my self-assigned task, also search out the works of contemporary, less well-known poets Florence Anthony (Ai, also known as the Japanese word for 'love'), Lucille Clifton, Forrest Hamer and Cornelius Eady.

RAA CONTACT INFO: Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474-4373; e-mail: rockart116@aol.com; website: www.rockawayartists alliance.org

Fort Tilden Highlights

NEXT RAA EXHIBITION: "Geoff's Art Class Exhibit," the best and the brightest. On view in sTudio 6 Gallery, RoCA @ Fort Tilden from March 7 through March 29. Opening reception: Sunday, March 8. Gallery hours: Sat. 12-4 p.m., Sun. 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. Free admission.

PAINTING CLASSES FOR ADULTS: Tuesday nights, 7-9 p.m.; Thursday mornings, 10 a.m. - 12 noon. sTudio 7, RoCA @ Fort Tilden. $15 per class, supplies included. Instructor: Geoff Rawling.

FREE THURS. NIGHT MUSIC: Open mic and open stage for performing artists, including spoken word and comics, and scheduled bands every Thurs. night, sTudio 7 stage, RoCA, Fort Tilden.

kidsmART corner

Registration forms for camp kidsmART have not been mailed yet.

Our earlier deadline of mid-February fell right at the beginning of the winter break, which might ca use some families to miss registration due to vacations.

We will have the registration forms in the mail by the first week of March.

kidsmART will return to it's regularly scheduled hours in PS 104 and Building T-149 in Fort Tilden beginning Monday, March 2.

The kidsmART after-school program is held on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 - 6:30 p.m. in Building T-149 in Fort Tilden.

For children registered at the PS 104 program, the schedule is Monday - Wednesday, 3 - 4:45 p.m. RAA is continually accepting inquiries for positions as junior counselors and teaching artists.

Please send resumes to: chrisrockart 116@ aol.com. For questions regarding after-school programming, please e-mail: marinarockart 116@aol.com.

We hope you all had enjoyable vacations!

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