He sends his regrets in the form of a sestina. . .
Silly Sestina for Dan and the Sestina Masters at Poets House
"This Saturday we will have the launch reading
for The Incredible Sestina Anthology! Spread
the word and please come if you can.
There will be lots of incredible sestinas
read and sestina masters in the house.
Would love to see you there."
Ah, it would be so great to be there --
"where all the barrel hoops are knit" -- a reading
after my own heart. And in the House
of Poetry itself! Some places you can spread
yourself too thin, but not there, where sestinas
flaunt their ankles like the French Can-Can.
You remember whispering, "I think I can ..."
back then, opening your notebook. "They're
the toughest poems to write, sestinas ..."
You needed models, eagerly reading
as farm implements and rutabagas spread
like a prairie fire through your little house,
warmed by a Marvel Stove. Like Poets House
itself--where you can sit your can
down in a comfy chair all day, spread
your mind out wide--they love it there,
the sight of anybody reading--
as Mark Strand ate poetry: sestinas
running from your mouth! You are the House
now, you've become its Reading
Monster, poking out of a garbage can
on a 'Sesame Street' by Denise Duhamel--& there
is Morgan Freeman intoning the point spread
for the Super Bowl--& Ma Barker's bedspread--
& Newt Gingrich--all inhabiting sestinas
you wish--oh how you wish!--you could be there
for. Alas, we play by the rules of the opposite 'house'
and as Larry Joseph says, you do what you can.
So I won't be able to make the reading,
but my heart spreads wide, thinking of friends reading
their 'can-do' poems that I love, in Poets House!
I'll be there in spirit. Go now, you silly sestina!
-- Jim Cummins
The event that Jim can't attend is at Poets House at 3 PM on Saturday February 1. Moderated by Daniel Nester, editor of the Incredible Sestina Anthology, with contributors David Lehman, Sharon Mesmer, Iam Sparrow, Jade Sylvan, Victor Infante, Marilyn Nelson, Patricia Carlin, Sharon Dolin, Scott Edward Anderson, Michael Costello, Jason Schneiderman, Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Jenna Cardinale, Brendan Lorber, Ned Rust, and others TBA! Poets House is at Ten River Terrace (at Murray Street), New York, NY 10282. Subway: 1, 2, 3, A or C lines to Chambers Street Station.