AMBUSHED BY POETRY: The Brick Project (update 3/8/14)

Ambushed by Poetry:
The Brick Project

(poems on YouTube get 2,720 hits)

For those of you who want a nostalgic look at Portsmouth when it’s not wrapped in the glories of winter, you might want to check out my two poetic tours of Portsmouth on Children’s Day and Market Square Day in 2012. The ever patient Mike Nelson did the recording. At each site, I stopped and read a different poem from the classic American and English canon. The most viewed? Johnson, Song to Celia (232), Herbert, Love Bade Me Welcome (203 hits), Lovelace, To Lucasta (199), Bennet, The Flag Goes By (196), Thaxter, The Sandpiper (181), Babcock, Be Strong (148), Suckling, Why So Pale and Wan (144).

  1. Babcock, Be Strong (2:22) 148
  2. Bates, America the Beautiful (3:49) 19
  3. Bennet, The Flag Goes By (2:55) 196
  4. Browning, Home Thoughts from Abroad (3:01) 52
  5. Bunner, The Heart of the Tree (3:22) 37
  6. Byron, So We’ll Go No More a Roving (2:36) 43
  7. Coleridge, Kubla Khan (5:11) 19
  8. Coleridge, Kubla Khan (5:15) 52
  9. Cook, How Did You Die? (3:14) 51
  10. Dickinson, A Narrow Fellow in the Grass (2:50) 25
  11. Donne, The Good Morrow (3:20) 91
  12. Dowson/Horace, I’ll Always Be Faithful to You in My Fashion/Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae (3:58) 90
  13. Emerson, Concord Hymn (3:09) 18
  14. Herbert, Love Bade Me Welcome (2:30) 203
  15. Herrick, Upon Julia’s Clothes (1:44) 60
  16. Holmes, God Save the Flag (2:54) 45
  17. Johnson, Song to Celia (2:14) 232
  18. Longfellow, Paul Revere’s Ride (8:27) 18
  19. Longfellow, The Children’s Hour (3:15) 4
  20. Longfellow, The Village Blacksmith (4:03) 31
  21. Lovelace, To Lucasta, Going to the Wars (1:55) 199
  22. Marlowe, The Passionate Shepherd to His Love (2:53) 54
  23. Marvell, To His Coy Mistress (4:02) 43
  24. McCrae, In Flanders Fields (2:52) 24
  25. Poe, To Helen (2:04) 65
  26. Raleigh, The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd (3:02) 65
  27. Riley, Knee Deep in June (5:45) 29
  28. Shakespeare, O Mistress Mine (2:00) 29
  29. Shakespeare, Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day? (2:58) 50
  30. Stanton, Keep a-Goin’ (2:37) 14
  31. Sucking, Why So Pale and Wan, Fair Lover? (2:01) 56
  32. Suckling, Why So Pale and Wan, Fond Lover? (2:16) 144
  33. Thaxter, The Sandpiper (3:12) 181
  34. Thayer, Casey at the Bat (6:27) 28
  35. van Dyke, America for Me (3:38) 85
  36. Waller, Go Lovely Rose (2:28) 83
  37. Whitman, O Captain! My Captain! (3:55) 22
  38. Whittier, Maud Muller (8:20) 24
  39. Whittier, The Barefoot Boy (6:45) 16
  40. Yeats, Leda and the Swan (2:02) 99


Contemporary Poets Read and Respond to Langston Hughes’s Contemporaries

Sponsored by The Seacoast African American Cultural Center

Thursday, April 24, 2014, 7-9 pm
Kittery Community Center, Community Room
120 Rogers Road, Kittery ME 03904

refreshments will be served

[please note the changes in venue and instructions to readers]

 The Seacoast African American Cultural Center has adopted the theme “The Harlem Renaissance” for this year’s activities. In recognition of National Poetry Month, they have asked me to curate a poetry reading on Thursday evening, April 24, 2014 and suggested that it focus on Harlem Renaissance poets other than Langston Hughes. I have also chosen to exempt three other famous poets from the era, Countee Cullen, James Weldon Johnson, and Claude McKay. When these famous men went to a poetry reading, who did they hear?

I have invited contemporary poets to select a Harlem Renaissance poet to introduce with a short bio, to read a poem by that poet, and to write an original poem in response—a sort of poetic dialogue. The following, in chronological order, are the HARLEM RENAISSANCE POETS that have been selected by the following (contemporary poets):

(Tammi Truax, journalist, Herald)

(Pat Frisella, immediate past president of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire)

(Alison Harville, Business Systems Analyst, Liberty Mutual)

(Royaline Edwards, Author, Playwright, and Educator, Retired)

FENTON JOHNSON ((1888-1958)
(Bruce Pingree, Manager, The Press Room; Heart of Portsmouth Award 2013)

STERLING BROWN (1890-1960)
(James Rioux, Lecturer in English, University of New Hampshire Durham)

(Jessica Purdy, Adjunct Professor, Southern New Hampshire University)

JEAN TOOMER (1894-1967)
(Mark DeCarteret, 7th Portsmouth Poet Laureate)

(Maren Tirabassi, 3rd Portsmouth Poet Laureate, Pastor, Union Congregational Church Madbury)

ARNA BONTEMPS (1902-1973)
(Gordon Lang, 2011 New England Association of Teachers of English, Poet of the Year; teacher, English and Journalism, Kingswood High School Wolfeboro)

(John Perrault, 4th Portsmouth Poet Laureate, lawyer and balladeer)

HELENA JOHNSON (1907-1995)
(Kathleen Knox, student of S Stephanie, New Hampshire Institute of Art Manchester)

MAE COWDERY (1909-1953)
(S Stephanie, teacher and mentor, New Hampshire Institute of Art Manchester and Peterborough)

I am very excited by the array of poets who have responded to my invitation, and by the array of poets they’ve chosen to represent at the event. When the evening is over, you’ll have no doubt about the rich poetic community Hughes, Cullen, Johnson and McKay thrived in. And you may have discovered a new favorite poet from the period as well.