Astor & Tana reading 11/18/07

Susan Astor & Patti Tana n Much Heralded Reading Sun, Nov. 18, Great Neck

There comes a reading when two such prominent and accomplished poets are billed together that the event takes on historic proportions, one for some future poetry historian writing the story of the Long Island Community of Poets. This is the reading of Susan Astor, Poet-in-the Schools, and Patti Tana, Professor of English at Nassau Community College, at 2 P.M., Sunday, November, 18, in the Poetry Sundays series of The Great Neck Arts Center at Great Neck Plaza Village Hall, Gussack Plaza, Great Neck. Call 516-829-2570 for information and tickets. Admission $5.00, including refreshments.


Both will be reading their poems in the extraordinary new anthology edited by Prof. Tana, “Songs of Seasoned Women.” This volume is the ultimate in visualizing women’s experiences and concerns through the metaphoric lens. Every poem I’ve read is a metaphor. The book offers 119 poems by 63 “seasoned” (as Prof. Tana puts it), poets, almost all being Long Islanders. It was published by Quadrasol, Inc., (516-676-0939), started recently by 81-year-old Sea Cliff psychotherapist E. Willa Haas, who, according to Aileen Jacobson in her Sunday Newsday page, “on the isle,” ” told Prof. Tana she “wanted to publish a book of poetry by women older then 50.”

For 26 years as Poet-in-the-Schools, Ms. Astor has been bringing forth language from Long Island’s elementary and secondary students that is literature. From the way she presents her lessons she obtains work that shows children have an uncanny ability to produce poetic language — about peace, for example, such as that of two third graders, one ending his poem with they “They will break their cannons.” A visual word instead of the expected abstract verb, destroy. The other I offer in full because of the right choice of the second to last word in line 3 and the metaphoric ending, Peace on the Battlefield: The men dropped their guns/ and made friends with old enemies./ They talked to each other in soft words. Their peace drifted me to another galaxy.”

Both poets will be reading from their recent compelling books, Ms. Astor from “Spider Lies,” and Prof. Tana, from “This is Why You Flew Ten Thousand Miles.”

Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr.
Nassau County Poet Laureate

DIRECTIONS: Take the LIE to exit #33 (or Northern State Parkway to exit #25), Lakeville Road. Go North and continue straight over Northern Boulevard.  Lakeville Road becomes South Middle Neck Road. Go straight to the Village. Make a left onto Cuttermill Road, first light after the train station.  Make the first right turn onto Gussack Plaza.  The Village Hall is on the left, street level of the Municipal Parking Garage, where there is free parking on Sundays.

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