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(Unofficial) Poet Laureate Max Wheat – media coverage

Some of you may have been following the story of Maxwell Wheat. Max was considered for Poet Laureate of Nassau County. Though, a politician stumbled across some of Max’s Iraq War poems, the legislators on the poetry committee got chicken (all except Wayne Wink!), and they voted no on Max!

So, now Max gets to be involved in a complicated saga concerning the war, freedom of expression, politics, and community. On June 24th, area poets have decided to name Maxwell Wheat the poet laureate, anyway!

Maxwell Wheat Media Schedule – Long Island appearances

ON TELEVISION – Channel 115 – Wed. June 13th at 10 pm
Dr. Terrence Morrone [aka: Green Party member Terry Morrone!] Public Access program producer, is re-running his 2004 interview of Maxwell Wheat, about the Iraq War at 10:00 PM on Wednesday, June 13 (Tonight), on Woodbury Cablevision, Channel 115.

ON RADIO – WBAI – Wed. June 20th at 6:40 am
WBAI 99.5 FM, 6:40 A.M., Wed., June 20.

ON RADIO – Thurs. June 21 at 9:15 am 88.3FM
“In the Morning with Bonnie Grice”, WLIU, 88.3 FM, 9:15 A. M., Thurs., June 21

3 Responses

  1. Poet Sparks Controversy in Legislative Halls
    By: Alice Melzer

    On June 4, 2007, the Nassau County Legislative session
    at moments seemed as electrifying as the water leaking
    from the roof, and dripping near the room’s hanging
    lights. In reviewing the nominating committee’s
    recommendation to install Maxwell “Max” Corydon Wheat,
    Jr. as its first Nassau County Poet Laureate, the
    Legislation achieve a an unprecedented level of
    communication. One man’s poetry touched the emotions
    of the many present.

    The nominating committee spent one year in selecting
    Wheat. He was chosen for his 40 plus years as an
    educator devoted to reading literacy, his work with
    Port Washington’s Tap Root Poetry group, his volumes
    about Nassau County’s flora and fauna. He is noted for
    his gentle persona and as one who ever encourages
    appreciation for the written and spoken word. The
    two-year unpaid position would promote and encourage
    poetry. During the session and through roll call six
    of seven members Peter Schmidt, Diane Yataro, Joseph
    Scandell, Dennis Dunne, and Francis Becker and Norma
    Gonsalves vetoed the motion with vehement opposition.

    Max Wheat’s thin book “Iraq and Other Killing Fields:
    Poetry for Peace” was the cause of the committee’s
    tempest. Two members of the legislative body were
    reminded by the chair to cease interrupting one
    another and also the poet. The poems in question were
    drawn from the headlines of the New York Times. It has
    been said, “War is hell and atrocities occur”.

    When interviewed after the event Wheat (a veteran)
    noted he and his wife are of the Episcopalian faith.
    His early studies at the Mercer School of Theology
    brought him to his beliefs about war. He is, “against
    war, but not against our troops…Look at the figures,
    the large figures. of how many have been killed. I
    want to humanize the number of troops, who have died,
    which was the point of the book. The troops are doing
    the best to serve the country.”

    Wayne Wink cast the single vote for Max Wheat. Wink
    stated, “Poetry is about art, feeling, literature and
    expression…I am beginning to understand why poets are
    not celebrated until after their deaths…This is not
    popularity contest. We hear he is exhaled.
    (What is this) to become a jingle writing
    competition?” Wayne Wink’s cast the solo favorable
    vote and he represented a neutral voice. Wink acted
    with the courage of conviction and many since Monday
    noted his aye vote demonstrated backbone.

    In related news, over Memorial Day weekend Cedarmere
    the Roslyn Harbor home of the poet William Cullen
    Bryant offered a civil war-related program. Poems by
    Bryant, Melville, Whittier and songs from the civil
    war were rendered. Director Harrison Hunt, a Port
    Washington resident and author of two books on the
    Civil War noted, “The program was designed to recreate
    the roots of Memorial Day. Maxwell “Max” Corydon
    Wheat, Jr. did a marvelous job of selecting poems,
    which reflected the nobility and bravery as well as
    the tragedy of war times. It was a moving program for
    the many who attended it. The participatory readings
    around which Max centered the program was probably the
    aspect of the program which they enjoyed the most.”

    Long Island continues to inspire writers. Maxwell
    Corydon Wheat, Jr. as others acknowledges there is
    distinctive voice emerging from our regional poets and
    notes it can be considered as the “Long Island School
    of Poetry”. The head of the committee who hoped to
    confer Wheat as poet laureate, Paula Camacho will also
    be on hand. The Nassau County Department of Parks
    Recreation and Museums operates Cedarmere, and its
    next event will be a reading of poems celebrating Long
    Island at Cedarmere, on Sunday, June 24th at 3pm by
    Mr. Wheat.

    Cedarmere is located on Bryant Avenue in
    Roslyn Harbor. For additional information call 516 571-8130.

  2. Dear Pandadoll,

    Thank you so much for the update.

    We were awaiting details of the June 24th Cedarmere event. Thanks for posting the phone number.

  3. Surely beyond/above/whatever when a poet is going to read to an audience of poets
    and poet devotees, some courtesy is owed to the the listeners.How one can walk in to a roomfull of exvets and spout (to call it poetry would be to inssult the other poets in
    the room). And to not guage your audiece’nd’s reaction is unforgiveablre.
    to also consistently usurp the time of other poets is rude. Three times in as many years Max has offended (and worse BORED) the Roque Bluffs Poetry Festival audience!!!

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