Dennis Pollock runs a poetry reading series on the third Thursday evening of every month at Bellissimo Dolce in Pittsfield. "Enjoy your favorite pastry and beverage while listening to exceptional local and regional poets reading from their work," their flyer says. I'm honored to be billed that way; tomorrow night's reading will feature Rosemary Starace and yours truly, starting at 7pm.
It's Thursday night, and Pittsfield’s North Street is relatively quiet -- but it’s standing room only at Bellissimo Dolce. Two poets are reading their work, and the audience is enjoying not only the poetry but coffee and tea and pastries offered for purchase at the counter. The Tuscan yellow walls glow with the warmth of the place and the event. A glass case with its display of peanut butter, sugar, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies, Katy Miller’s South Mountain truffles, various other baked treats and the smell of coffee stir the appetite. No one goes hungry here; there is food for the soul as well as the stomach.
Doesn't that sound grand? If you live within driving range of Pittsfield and if you're free tomorrow night, I hope you'll come to 444 North Street for poetry and coffee. I'm planning to read a couple of brand-new poems that have never been heard before, a couple of poems from What Stays, and a handful of poems from my current manuscript, which has the working title of Manna because so many of the poems center around what sustains me.
If you'd like to get a sense of my work before showing up, you're in luck. Here is a poem published in Zeek, here are three poems in The Texas Observer, and (dipping way back into internet antiquity now) here are the poems PoetrySuperHighway published when they made me Poet of the Week back in April of 2000.
Hope to see you tomorrow night!