Thursday, October 22, 2009

Poets in Port, October 30, 2009

Poets in Port will feature John Williams at 7:30 pm on Friday, October 30, 2009 at Caffé Portofino, 249 Main St., Northport, opposite the theatre. There will also be an Open Reading — bring your poems and music and participate. For more information, contact Steven Schmidt.

John A. Williams grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and was educated at the University of Wisconsin and the University of California, Berkeley. As a member of the History Department at SUNY Stony Brook from 1968 to 2004, he taught courses on the history of India, South Africa, and other regions of the British Empire. His book, Classroom in Conflict (SUNY Press 1994) discusses the problems of teaching controversial subjects. The book utilizes poetry as well as historical literature in presenting its arguments. He has studied poetry writing at the Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire and with Elaine Preston in Huntington, Long Island. He lives in Setauket, New York, with his wife Ginger and their two Shih Tzu dogs.

A Poet Named Williams

A poet named Williams, who does not use his middle 
name, has no prescription pad for writing short poems,
because he is not a physician. He once owned a red wheel
barrow for carting fifty pound bags of topsoil to the
perennial garden, but it rusted out and the axle broke. His
encounters with white chickens have been limited since
childhood. By the time he sees them they are un-feathered,
headless and oven-ready. He garnishes them with
rosemary. So much depends upon the pop-up timer.


The neighbor’s Beagle bays loudly, protesting my presence as I 
pass by on my walk. His baying splashes into the morning,
rippling outward. The sudden noise upsets the Airedale a block
to the west. Quickly, the two German Shepherds down by the
Post Office prick their ears and scramble to their feet to voice
their outraged objections. Guard dogs, strays, mincing leashed
and coddled pets, each in turn comments on the situation. Along
the streets of St. James, Smithtown, Kings Park, westward the
length of Long Island the message is passed along. In late
morning, housewives in Huntington, clicking cups on saucers,
step to the door to hush their dogs, lest neighbors might
complain. Woodbury horseback riders steady jumpy mounts;
through populous western Nassau County the stream of sound
widens, entering New York City at three o’clock. After supper
nervous Manhattan apartment owners squint through their
peepholes to see what is going on.