Saturday, May 17, 2008
Poetry on Block Island
An adventure that begins with a ferry ride has an element of magic built in. Visiting Block Island, 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island (where I was born), is like time travel to 19th Century New England with its wraparound porches, old farmhouses, and meadows separated by stone walls. It's a cozy, friendly place.
This trip, I spent a long weekend at the Poetry Project, not far from town. Visiting poets included Mary Oliver, Coleman Barks, Richard Tillinghast, and Valzhyna Mort (who lives right in Alexandria!).
This particular weekend also featured activist visionary astrologer Caroline Casey who introduced us to the playful ways of coyote. We even shared a group howl.
Mary Oliver signed my copy of her new book of poems, Red Bird. Certainly a special moment for me as you can well imagine.
Participants (about 65 total) hailed from Georgia (Atlanta), Connecticut, New York City, Boston, Vermont, etc. To take your car to Block Island costs $93 roundtrip! So most people parked in Galilee, and ferried over on foot.
This was the sixth and final weekend of this year's project. We were busy all day and into the evening, walking from Payne's Harbor View Inn to Smuggler's Cove for special events or riding into town for readings. Meals were communal in a lovely dining room overlooking the fog and ponds.
On a sunny day we would have seen the ocean in the not to far distance. Block Island is only 3 miles around. So you can see the ocean from just about everywhere as long as it's not raining. On the sunny day I arrived, I drove to Mohegan Bluffs and made down and back up the 167 steps to the beach!
For more details, visit the project's Web site. Founder Lisa Starr and her hubby Champ are wonderful and energetic hosts as is their fine dog Brother. Thanks to their efforts, we all had a blast!