Catskills Poetry Festival Aug. 15 at Erpf House

Arkville — The Catskill Center welcomes the public to the First Annual Catskills Poetry Festival at The Erpf House in Arkville on Saturday, Aug. 15 from 1 to 5 p.m. Award-winning poets from the Catskill Mountain Region will give performances of their poems depicting life in rural America, love and nature. Included in the festival’s roster are musical guests Princes of Serendip by Julie Parisi Kirby & T.G. Vanini and James Krueger. Those attending the event are encouraged to visit one of the region’s fine delis and restaurants to grab a Poetry Fest Lunch-to-Go special. Participating restaurants include The Cheese Barrel and The Flour Patch in Margaretville and Ayla’s in Arkville. The event is free and open to the public.
Celebrating 40 years of service, The Catskill Center solidified its commitment to celebrating the cultural heritage of the region in 1993, by merging with the long-standing champion of Catskill traditions, The Erpf Catskill Cultural Center. Since that time, The Catskill Center has further increased its efforts to present and preserve the rich, organic culture that sustains communities and all those who seek respite in the region’s hollows, creeks and peaks.
“The Catskills Poetry Festival is a celebration of our artistic heritage and our talented present,” says Executive Director Lisa Rainwater. “A well-crafted poem can evoke the deepest emotions, recover lost memories and even inspire a new creative endeavor. The Catskill Mountain Region is fortunate to have such talented poets and The Catskill Center is blessed that many of them will be joining us for our first annual festival.”
The first reading is from 1 – 3 p.m. and will include readings by Will Nixon, Woodstock resident and author of My Late Mother as a Ruffed Grouse (2008); Matthew J. Spireng, Lomontville resident, Academy of American Poets Prize winner and author of Young Farmer (2007); Philip Pardi, hailing from Phoenicia and author of Meditations on Rising and Falling, which won the 2008 Brittingham Poetry Prize; Susan Deer Cloud, award-winning, Métis Native writer and author of The Last Ceremony (2009) and Eddie Bell of New Paltz who has just come out with his latest book, Eeny Meeny Miney Mo/Time to Lynch a Negro. The reading will be followed by a musical performance by Catskills’ favorites, The Princes of Serendip. The trio has been together since 1996, appearing in coffeehouses, chamber music series, festivals, poetry venues, folk clubs, private parties and peace rallies. They have captivated audiences of all ages from toddlers to senior citizens.
The second reading is from 3 – 5 p.m. and will include readings by Writers in the Mountains poets Lynn Domina of Delhi and author of Corporal Works; Bethany Saltman, published poet hailing from Phoenicia and Melora Wolff, a professor of creative writing and the 2004 Philip Roth Resident in Poetry at Bucknell University; as well as Andes poet Tom Lavazzi who has written three volumes of poetry, including his most recent, Lights Out (2005). The reading will be followed by a musical performance by James Krueger, whose music grows out of his love for rural America. His music deals with nature and the environment, Catskill Mountain history and lore, offering audiences an energetic session of beautiful songs, compelling poetry and fun stories.