Remembering Inkstrav

June 21, 2006

Inkstravaganza! was ten days ago, and already it’s receding into the mists of memory. The whole thing is a blur now, from the radio interview we did on WAMC to kick off the official tenth anniversary celebrations, to the list of groovy literary cocktails we dreamed up for Ink Slink, to the afternoon we spent setting up the Cup and Saucer for the party, to the party itself.

It was terrific fun, though. The party was even more of a success than we had imagined it might be. The place was packed — I know that during most of the evening it was hard to make oneself heard because there were so many people conversing in that space! (Emily had made a lovely iTunes playlist of literary songs — like “My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors,” by Moxy Fruvous, and Rufus Wainwright’s recording of a Shakespeare sonnet — but we were talking too loudly to hear it, most of the night.)

Our special guests are fabulous, and it was fun to get the chance to reconnect with all of them. The two poems we premiered that night ( Seth Brown’s Apologies to Poe, Thanks to Inkberry, and my own Berry Sestina) were both a hit, as was Bernice Lewis’ song about the writing process.

The food was great. The wine was great. The magnetic poetry was great. But mostly what was great was the chance to celebrate with so many friends and neighbors. My former boss, from The Women’s Times (the monthly paper I edited, before founding Inkberry) was there — I hadn’t seen her in years, and it was really exciting to get to show off my baby to her. Many of our board members were there. Many of our students were there. Many of our friends were there. Many of the artists who created amazing alphabetical art (which you can see online here) were there.

I know I made some remarks, midway through the evening. I can’t remember what they were (so if you can, please tell me!) I know I ended by raising my glass to Inkberry’s eventful past, delightful present, and auspicious future. Thanks to all of you who were there to celebrate with us — and all who celebrate with us just by reading these words now. We couldn’t have done it without you.

See all the pictures from the evening here

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Berry Sestina

June 21, 2006

A poem written to be read at Inkstravaganza: the celebration of Inkberry’s first five years.

BERRY SESTINA

The best bush we know, the staunch inkberry:
“Even by roadsides and in waste places,” its hall
-mark is blooming and bearing fruit to pluck,
Like a writer never short on ink to pen
A deeply-rooted ode. We planted one, just five
Short years ago, chasing down a dream.

Who could have known, in those days of dream
How many late nights would arise at our ‘berry,
Or early board meetings, waking at five,
Carrying the Box o’Joe down the silent hall.
Rainy mornings we’d leave the windows open,
The scent of lilacs near enough to pluck.

Starting this nonprofit took a lot of pluck.
No idea what we were doing; we didn’t dream
Of budgets or IRS forms, scrawled over with pen.
We fantasized poets, novelists, Wendell Berry…
(His refusal was polite.) What hallowed hall
Would someday hold our posters, framed, five

Years’ worth? We couldn’t fathom turning five.
Yet here we are, the strings we first plucked
Reverberating gloriously through this hall.
This sweet machine runs like a dream.
Mark Doty, Alicia Ostriker, Bob Hicok, Drinkberry…
(To think we considerd the name “Mountain Pen!)

A female swan, too, is called a “pen”
And this duckling is turning swan, at five.
So many writers have come here to bury
Their seeds in our soil. Plays, plots of pluck,
Poems: our pages unfurled like dreams.
We’ve come a long way since Donald Hall

Set foot in the Main Street Stage’s hall,
Autographing books with the rector’s pen.
The house that night was packed — what a dream!
So nervous, we picked him up at five…
If we’ve learned anything about roses, it’s “pluck,
But leave some blooms to fruit into berries.”

Down the hall, more years. May the next five
Give rise to pages from our pens, the pluck
Of following a dream…and joy in our berry.


Apologies to Poe, thanks to Inkberry! (guest post from Seth Brown)

June 11, 2006

One of the coolest things that happened at Inkstravaganza last night was that Seth Brown read a poem written in honor of Inkberry. It was fabulous. With his permission, we reprint it here!

“Apologies to Poe, Thanks to Inkberry”

I

Hear the writers with their words—
Silver words!
Litanies of literary merit will be heard,
As they’re writing, writing, writing,
On a worn and wrinkled page
While the dogs outside are biting
And the children all are fighting
Since they never act their age.
Ink will fall, fall, fall
As they write their scribbled scrawl
From the ink and inspiration which on them has been conferred
To write words, words, words, words,
words, words, words—
Their creation and formation of the words. [read more!]

II
Hear the poets with their words,
Golden words!
When a metaphor-y story of one’s death is writ as birds!
As they wrestle with their muse
For the perfect word to choose
In their careful-crafted lines
That they will write
From their ever-churning minds
As they try to pack these feelings into lines
Very tight!
And while seeking inspiration for their writerly vocation
They had found that their location had a bit of isolation
There were three with motivation to create a congregation
That gave writers information which would help them fight frustration
Thus this literary station long ago had its formation.
It’s been now five years duration, hence our current celebration
As we show appreciation and our ardent admiration
For this wonderful foundation — hopefully with a donation
To Inkberry.
It’s the personification of a literary friend,
Helping us to let our words run free, to frolic and transcend,
Pretty words, words, words, words,
words, words, words—
It’s instruction with production of our words.
Thank you, Inkberry.