(LENOX, Mass.) – Charles Coe and Berkshire poets Michelle Gillett and Leslie Harrison will read their poetry at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Estate and Gardens, on Saturday, November 12, 2011, at 4 p.m., in “Picnic with Poets,” a co-presentation by Close Encounters With Music and The Mount.
Recognized by Boston Magazine as “one of the finest poets in a place that has more than its share,” Charles Coe is known for his powerful readings and unusually warm and compassionate voice, and for poems that speak to the heart and mind as well as the ear. Combining subjects as diverse as African-American history, myth, jazz, and family, Coe offers poems personal and about music – written for Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Mingus, and other music greats. He is the winner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Poetry Fellowship and author of the collection Picnic on the Moon. A jazz and popular vocalist, he travels widely to perform and record his poetry.
Winner of an Artist Fellowship in Poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Coe now coordinates the Council’s literature and music grant programs. His work has appeared in numerous literary reviews and magazines. A volume of his poetry, Picnic on the Moon, has been published by Leapfrog Press. Charles Coe also appears on two spoken-word CDs: Get Ready for Boston, a collection of stories and songs about Boston neighborhoods, and on One Side of the River, an anthology of Cambridge and Somerville poets. In addition to poetry, he writes feature articles and book reviews that have appeared in publications such as Harvard Magazine, the Boston Phoenix, and the Boston Globe. He is co-chair of the Boston Chapter of the National Writers Union – a labor union for freelance writers.
Michelle Gillett won the Backwaters Press Poetry Prize for “Blinding the Goldfinches,” selected by Hayden Carruth and published in 2005. She has won poetry awards from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and recently published work in Upstreet, Salamander, the Comstock Review, Southern Poetry Review and Orion. She received an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College.
Leslie Harrison’s debut book of poems, Displacement, won the 2008 Bakeless prize in poetry and was published by Mariner Books, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in July 2009. She holds graduate degrees from the Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, Irvine. Her poems have been widely published in journals and anthologies. Harrison was the Philip Roth Resident in Poetry at Bucknell University for fall 2010 and was awarded a 2011 Fellowship in Literature from the National Endowment for the Arts. She resides in the Berkshires.
“Picnic with Poets” is part of a series of intimate and stimulating conversations about music and ideas is an intrinsic part of the Close Encounters With Music season. “Conversations With…” has presented such notable speakers as writer, editor and Bob Dylan biographer Seth Rogovoy; composer, National Endowment grantee and Guggenheim fellow Judith Zaimont; pianist-authors Walter Ponce and Adam Neiman; Emmy Award-winning animator, illustrator, cartoonist and children’s book author R.O. Blechman; art restorer David Bull; Academy Award nominee Daniel Anker; scholar/performer/multimedia artist Robert Winter; and former Yankee, author and sportscaster Jim Bouton.
Close Encounters With Music stands at the intersection of music, art and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic director Yehuda Hanani puts composers and their times in perspective to enrich the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time: Paul Schoenfield, Osvaldo Golijov, Lera Auerbach, Jorge Martin, John Musto, among others to create important new works that have already taken their place in the chamber music canon and on CD. A core of brilliant performers includes pianists James Tocco, Adam Neiman, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman and Toby Appel; harpsichordist Lionel Party; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Amy Burton, Jennifer Aylmer, Robert White, Lucille Beer and William Sharp; the Vermeer, Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Avalon, Hugo Wolf quartets, and Cuarteto Latinamericano; and guitarist Eliot Fisk. Choreographer David Parsons and actors Richard Chamberlain, Jane Alexander and Sigourney Weaver have also appeared as guests, weaving narration and dance into the fabric of the programs.
The Mount is the turn-of-the-century home that Edith Wharton designed and built in Lenox, MA, based on the precepts outlined in her 1897 book The Decoration of Houses, co-authored with architect Ogden Codman, Jr. A perfect example of the newly dawned American Renaissance, the classical revival house and its formal gardens represent the only full expression of Wharton’s architectural and landscape architectural theories. Only five percent of National Historic Landmarks are dedicated to women, and The Mount is one of them.
Tickets for this event are $15. Refreshments courtesy of Chocolate Springs are included following the reading.