2476 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley
Thursday, February 20, 7:30 p.m.
This is the inaugural reading for Poetry Hotel Press and is a celebration of the press’s first publications, Ivan Argüelles’ Ars Poetica, Jack Foley’s selected poems, EYES, and Clara Hsu’s Babouche Impromptu and Other Moroccan Sketches.
Poetry Hotel Press is a new press founded by Jack Foley and Clara Hsu. It is a poetry press founded for the love of poetry by two poets. “The necessity of poetry has to be stated over and over,” wrote Adrienne Rich in her introduction to Judy Grahn’sThe Work of a Common Woman, “but only to those who have reason to fear its power, or those who still believe that language is ‘only words’ and that an old language is good enough for our descriptions of the world we are trying to transform.”
Poetry Hotel Press is a new press trying to do an old thing: to make the world better by addressing the emotions that lie at the base of all our actions. We are asking for your support in this activity. Poetry is politics in another form—politics finding its way into the deepest areas of that mind/body amalgamation that we call “life.”
“Admittedly or not, conscious or unconscious, the poetic state, a transcendent experience of life, is what the public is fundamentally seeking through love, crime,drugs, war or revolt.” —Antonin Artaud
For Mary Rudge
Mary—can scarcely believe it.
Just back from LA—would have liked to have told you about it.
I lost my Catholicism so many years back,
will never regain it
but I would have gone to church with you.
If anyone had power to bless…
But you would not receive such praise
We who are luminous
I loved the hum of your voice
the sweetness of your consciousness
that found good in everyone
And you were Irish
named for the mother of heaven
Stella maris, star of the sea,
are 90 % light,
how you loved ritual, color, dance
how your words
moved to the movement
in homage to spirit inhabiting everything
(as Pagan a thing as Christian)
Flames loop and leap the arteries
There is a core of ember in the womb
—Can scarcely believe your vanishing
beyond our brightness
beyond anything I can know
I remember your sweetness
your love of art
your passion for justice
in the bodies of strong women
reality and dream and memory
with hard and thudding rhythms of our love
my love for you remains
here, on this earth,
under the deep sky of california
passionate and lasting as the redwoods
(like the one planted in 1980 by William Everson!)
and wishing that I am terribly wrong
about the afterlife
so that you
in all your dearness
in a house
that is on no corner
of any earthly city—
that you might have
[lines in italics from Mary Rudge’s book, Water Planet]
For Mary Rudge
child of verse
how did the curtain fall?
With laurel crown
on haloed hair
and loving faces gathered around.
brittle bones and heart.
with a problem shoe
fed her kids and filled the cupboard.
full of grace
the Lord is with thee.
from earth to heaven
for the wee lamb blithe and spry.
Photo by Dave Holt.