Welcome home to Volume 2, Issue 1 of String Poet. We hope you will visit often, and invite friends. Our May issue theme, “Remembrance,” matches the contest theme, and alongside the winning poems of the second annual String Poet Prize, we have published many of the finalists.
We thank all those who submitted their work. Again, as with last year, there were strong entries from around the world, from such locations as England and Australia to all over the United States and Canada. The second annual String Poet Prize had over one hundred-fifty entries. After a preliminary round of judging, we sent the top picks to Finalist Judge and Director of the West Chester University Poetry Center and the West Chester Poetry Conference, Kim Bridgford.
As our theme is “Remembrance,” it is fitting on several levels that our Featured Artist page pays homage to the sculptor Robert White (1921-2002). White’s work is intimate; even when depicting mythological figures there is a sense of visceral connection for the viewer, of belonging to the archetypes his work invokes. Interestingly, White often worked from memory, or that place where memory meets imagination. String Poet is grateful for the kind cooperation of Robert White’s wife, Claire Nicolas White, the poet, writer, editor and translator, whose own work has graced past issues and appears in this one as well.
“Remembrance” is beautifully captured in the words of Claire Nicolas White. In the introduction to her biography of Robert White she deftly writes,
“What is left, in the end, except memory? The journeys now go back over roads traveled with companions that came and went, elusive or constant. There are highlights and blanks, odd details that stand out sharply, faces without names, or names that become public property. There are childhood ditties, and pious songs learned in convent school, melodies that date a period, a moment, a dance… But the life lived is still the most true source, inexhaustible.”
These elegant words are guiding stars for this issue, filled with varied, sculpted poems taking on the theme from many angles and across many journeys. There is a blend of formal and free verse all chiseled from memory, that kite-string to the past.
This issue’s Featured Musician is Australian composer, Barry Tognolini, who was commissioned by String Poet to compose an original piece of music to honor our First Prize poem, “Upkeep,” by J.D. Smith. Highlights from Barry Tognolini’s music are featured in a playlist that can be enjoyed in this issue. The music is well aligned to thoughts about the past as it evokes boldly beautiful melodies that remain grounded while daring near the line of nostalgia. Tognolini premiered his brilliant new composition, “Tristezza”, inspired by J.D. Smith’s poem, “Upkeep,” at a satellite Studio Series location, Steinway Piano Gallery in Huntington, New York, the same evening this journal went “live” for the first time; May 25, 2012. Celebrating this event we had a featured reading by Kim Bridgford, a concert by Barry Tognolini, and readings from runners-up Maxine Silverman (third place) and Muriel Harris Weinstein (Honorable Mention) as well as First Place winner, J.D. Smith.
As an outgrowth of the literary journal, the String Poet Studio Series continues to thrive. Next season we will host such poets as David Yezzi, Ned Balbo, Jane Satterfield and Barbara Crooker, such musicians as violinist Shem Guibbory and Counterclockwise Ensemble. The Studio Series is, like the journal, a place where the poet, the musician, and the artist may simultaneously be the other two, where poets and musicians and artists can dialogue and interact. We invite anyone living in or visiting the New York area to join us for one our more of our upcoming shows.
In the mean time, happy reading.
Peace and Gratitude,
Founder and Editor, String Poet