For Immediate Release

Woodstock Poetry Society & Festival as part of the Woodstock Arts Consortium is sponsoring the following poetry event as part of the Woodstock "Second Saturdays" Art Events. For a full listing of "Second Saturday" events, see:

Poet and story-teller Gioia Timpanelli and poet Aracelis Girmay will be the featured readers when the Woodstock Poetry Society & Festival meets at the Woodstock Town Hall, 76 Tinker Street, on Saturday, September 12th at 2pm. Note: WPS&F meetings are held the 2nd Saturday of every month.

The readings will be hosted by Woodstock area poet Phillip Levine. All meetings are free, open to the public, and include an open mike.


Gioia Timpanelli (What Makes A Child Lucky)
“No one in the world can tell a story better than Gioia Timpanelli.”
—Frank McCourt

“She has the capacity to draw out the very depths of the power of myths and narrative and to take literature back to its sources before your eyes (and ears).” —Gary Snyder

Gioia Timpanelli is one of the founders of the worldwide revival of storytelling. Often called the "Dean of American Storytelling," she is today considered one of the world's foremost storytellers—widely respected as both a master and scholar of the ageless art. She won two Emmy Awards for her series of programs on storytelling, Stories from My House on educational television, where she created, wrote, produced, and appeared in eight series of literature programs shown on PBS stations all over the United States. She has also received the prestigious Women's National Book Association Award for bringing the oral tradition to the American public and recently the Maharishi Award for "promoting world harmony wherever she goes by enlivening within the listener that field of pure consciousness that is the source of all stories." She received The 1999 American Book Award for Sometimes the Soul: Two Novellas of Sicily (W.W Norton).

She has performed her improvisational telling of ancient and modern stories and given talks in collaboration with respected masters of other art forms—especially in the world of poetry and letters (Joseph Campbell, Robert Bly, James Hillman, Nor Hall, and Gary Snyder) throughout the United States, including The New School, The Art Institute of Chicago, The University of California, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, The American Museum of Natural History, Il Santuario De Guadalupe in Santa Fe, John Hancock Hall in Boston, the Laurel Theatre in Knoxville, Riverwalk in New Orleans, the 1980 Winter Olympics, the Spoleto Festival, The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and many other venues. She has also performed in Canada, Britain, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Greece.

“Timpanelli's tales are little treasures. We need them in these times for their psychological clarity about feminine experience and masculine identity.”
—Nor Hall

“I love almost all storytelling, but this woman, Gioia Timpanelli, is the greatest I have heard in the art.”
—Robert Bly

About What Makes A Child Lucky (2008)
A luminous story of danger and survival. In a timeless moment in rural Sicily, a boy experiences the brutal killing of his best friend and is kidnapped by the murderers. No child should have to know evil so intimately, and yet once he does, what will save him? His salvation lies in the cycles of the seasons, the sturdy earth and its gifts of lentils and wild asparagus in a time of starvation, the animal sense that enables one to anticipate the whims and impulses of others, and, most important, familiarity with the Ancient Grandmother, who knows the entire play of good and evil. If he can trust her—the gang’s cook, a fierce woman of great practical wisdom and humanity—he will escape the grip of perpetual violence. Or so we learn from the beguiling old couple who narrate this story. Uniting the most ancient forms of storytelling with a modern sensibility, Gioia Timpanelli’s work is a national treasure—a joy to read, clear and resonant and satisfying.

Aracelis Girmay - Aracelis Girmay is the author of Teeth (Curbstone Press) & the collage-based book, changing, changing (Braziller). The recipient of fellowships from the Watson Foundation, the Toor Cummings Institute, & the Jerome Foundation, Girmay is a Cave Canem Fellow & graduate of NYU's MFA program. She leads writing workshops for young people & is on the faculty of Drew University's low residency MFA program.


Kingdom Animalia

When I get the call about my brother,
I’m on a stopped train leaving town
& the news packs into me like freight,
though it’s him on the other end
now, saying finefine

Forfeit my eyes, I want to turn away
from the blood on the floor of his house
& how it got there Monday,
but my one heart falls
like a sad, fat persimmon
dropped by the hand of the Turczyn’s old tree.

& that chainsaw girl, six rows behind me,
with her chainsaw laugh.
I want to go back there & close her mouth with my hands.

I want to sleep. I do not want to sleep. See.

One day, not today, not now, we will be gone
from this earth where we know the gladiolas.
My brother, this noise,
some love [you] I loved
with all my brain, & breath,
will be gone; I’ve been told, today, to consider this
as I ride the long tracks out & dream so good

I see a plant in the window of the house
my brother shares with his love, their shoes. & there
he is, asleep in bed
with this same woman whose long skin
covers all of her bones, in a city called Oakland
& their dreams hang above them
a little like a chandelier
& their teeth flash in the night, oh, body.

Oh, body, be held now by whom you love.
Whole years will be spent, underneath these impossible stars,
when dirt’s the only animal who will sleep with you
& touch you with
its mouth.

-Aracelis Girmay


Night, for Henry Dumas

Henry Dumas, 1934-1968,
did not die by a spaceship
or flying saucer or outer space at all
but was shot down, at 33,
by a New York City Transit policeman,
will be shot down, May 23rd,
coming home, in just 6 days,
by a New York City Transit policeman
in the subway station singing & thinking of a poem,
what he’s about to eat, will be, was, is right now
shot down,
happening yesterday, happened tomorrow,
will happen now
under the ground & above the ground
at Lenox & 125th in Harlem, Tennessee,
Memphis, New York, Watts, Queens.
1157 Wheeler Avenue, San Quentin, above which
sky swings down a giant rope, says
Climb me into heaven, or follow me home,
& Henry
& Amadou
& Malcolm
& King,
& the night hangs over the men & their faces,
& the night grows thick above the streets,
I swear it is more blue, more black, tonight
with the men going up there.
Bring the children out
to see who their uncles are.

-Aracelis Girmay

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