Thursday, March 13, 2008

Catch-up, the blogging treadmill

It's even harder to catch up when you've let this blog go another month without all the highlights missing since the last post. We began our Princeton sojourn on January 16th, had Internet and our library cards by the second day. I started my participation in the poetry world here by attending the U.S. 1 poets reading at the Princeton Public Library on the 23rd, meeting my email friend Carolyn Foote Edelmann, who has put Bill and me in touch with an amazing array of friendly and interesting folks. Bill and I took our first mini-trip to New Brunswick on the 25th, discovered the free-open-to-everyone library there, was able to do some genealogical lookups. On the 29th we were off to NYC for AWP!

What I especially remember from our week in NY: dinners with Bill at 2 restaurants he discovered for us, Boqueria (lively tapas place) and The Little Owl (in Greenwich Village), the latter especially charming; Dan Bellm's wonderful reading at the 92nd St. Y with a stellar group of Jewish poets; a concert by the early music group Parthenia at the Corpus Christi Church on the Upper West side (also another restaurant, Community, nearby); the tiny but absolutely authentic Italian espresso bar, Zibetto, two blocks from the Hilton; and dinner with our friends in Brooklyn at Ozzie's. Oh, and AWP was wonderful, too! Readings by Galway Kinnell, Sharon Olds, Carolyn Forche, Alicia Ostriker, Robert Pinsky--and we sold lots of Rivers books too!

In early February we drove one day to Bryn Mawr and Ardmore, walked around the beautiful campus at Haverford, and attended a poetry reading given by J.C. Todd and Francine Sterle at Robin's Bookstore. Then we wheeled back to Philly that weekend, checked out Moorestown, NJ on the way down (of note is the Gelateria Dolce Crema Artisan Gelato...) and went to a lovely concert in the Old Pine St. Church played by the Philadelphia Ensemble.

The first really lovely snowfall in Princeton occured on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Bill and I walked around the campus, the snow crunchy and strangely silent under our feet. That night I showed up for a U.S. 1 Poets workshop but it seems that I, the Californian, was the only one to brave the "snowy" weather (it really wasn't that bad!). Other Princeton events that week: Philip Lopate on the 13th, and a Schubert concert that evening at the Westminster Choir College.

On Sunday, Feb. 17, after a scary tooth incident (my fragile lower molar attacked by a large nut, then set upon by dentists with silver mallets--does it hurt here? how about there?--luckily my tooth decided to calm down and behave), we headed off to Buffalo, but first we went to visit Joel and Susan in Brooklyn and attended with them a "concert of viols" at the Church of the Transfiguration in lower Manhattan, an amazing English-style church where Bill's parents were married.

On Monday, Feb. 18, we drove to Ithaca (short afternoon stop in Binghamton) and had dinner at the Moosewood Cafe. The next morning we had a lovely snowy walk around the Cornell campus, and especially enjoyed the Art Museum, which had an amazing view of the lake, town, and campus from its top floor. As our car got closer and closer to Buffalo, the weather got snowier and snowier. With Bill's superb snow navigation skills, we "glided" into downtown Buffalo, then managed the elevated highway to the south of town so we could arrive in time for dinner with Jenny, Phil and the kids. Phil escorted us back to our hotel at the end of the evening, which was much appreciated.

On Wednesday we got to see all the kids sledding on the hill next to the Conservatory in the Botanical Gardens. On Thursday Bill and I changed our quarters to the Roycroft Hotel in East Aurora, a lovely arts-and-crafts-style building that was the center of Elbert Hubbard's "Roycroft" experiment in the late 19th and early 20th century. Dinner in the library by the fire was very romantic. We went on a tour of the hotel the next morning, and then Jenny and the girls arrived, and then Phil's sister Annie with her girls and our Frano, and we all had a tasty dinner at Tantalus.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, we drove east to Corning, stopped in at the Corning Glass Museum, decided we HAD to come back the next morning, and did--actually spent another half day. Quite an amazing museum, everything very well displayed and labeled, and truly some miraculous creations in glass. That night we were back "home" in Princeton.

I could mention another trip to Philly for the day (March 2), spent at the Philadelphia Art Museum, mostly to see the very-well-attended (trans.: crowded) Frida Kahlo exhibit. And another visit to Brooklyn (Mar. 5), a tour of Grand Central Terminal with our friends Ruth and Ed, a long lunch at their favorite (and now one of ours...) French cafe on the Lower East Side, Lucien. And then the next day, a gorgeous, clear, sunny day, Bill and I rode the Staten Island ferry. In St. George we visited the Staten Island Borough Hall, saw the WPA murals that depicted scenes from SI history, including a portrait of my ancestor, Cornelius Melyn, who was a patroon of the island in the 1640s. I then walked over to the public library across the street and found lots of info about him I hadn't known before, all photocopied dutifully (80+ pages).

More highlights: attending the monologue The Mad 7, performed by Yehuda Hyman at the Rehearsal Room in the McCarter Theater. That was on March 7.

On March 12th I made my New Jersey debut, reading at the Somerset County Library in Bridgewater. A very nice group that meets to discuss poetry and hear invited poets like myself. Nine in attendance and I sold 3 books!

That should bring us up to date, are you satisfied??

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