The Philadelphia City Center Book Club, which meets once a month, gathered on Oct 7, 2013 at Marie Stuart’s place to hold a session of poetry. Joe and KumKum Cleetus were guests; here they are, dressed for the occasion as the Raja and Rani of Kapurthala:
The session began with Rachel Munafo’s wide-ranging discourse on poetry concerning World War I, Homer’s Iliad, and the art of Cy Twombly exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Wilfred Owen, John McCrae, and Patrick Shaw-Stewart were the poets discussed by her.
KumKum Rachel, Caroline, & Marie
Nancy Naftulin gave a wonderful exposition of Guillaume Apollinaire’s poem, La colombe poignardée et le jet d'eau. It is a remarkable expression of the wounds of war that comes out through a ‘shaped poem’, he called a Calligramme.
Marie, Martha, Nancy, & Taylor
Joe exploited Vikram Seth’s novel, A Suitable Boy, for its embedded poetry that traces the course of love with one of Lata Mehra’s suitors, Amit, a poet manqué.
Marie, Karen, Martha, Nancy, & Taylor
KumKum read a famous poem of W.B. Yeats (When You are Old) and followed it with two of his unpublished poems that came to light recently through a gift of his son to the National Library of Ireland.
Martha reads as Karen listens
Martha Witte introduced Marianne Moore’s poetry and provided the text of a poem, Peter, but did not read it, unfortunately. William Carlos Williams admired her poetry but Mary McCarthy, the novelist, was just as impressed by her bloomers, it comes out.
Marie reads Heaney's poems as Caroline and Karen listen
The session concluded with Marie Stuart reading with great feeling from the early and late poems of Seamus Heaney who died on Aug 30, 2013, aged 74 years. Here are the readers gathered at the end of the session:
Joe, Martha, Nancy, Karen, Taylor, Caroline, KumKum, Marie, & Rachel