Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Poets reconvene at Elkins Park Library, Arthur Krasnow's Legacy continues

The long-awaited day of the return of Poets and Poetry, an event founded by the late Arthur Krasnow about 8 years ago at the Elkins Park Library.

Before we enter the library, let's get some history of Elkins Park, PA. It was named after the prominent Elkins family. Dad - William Elkins - was instrumental in the Philadelphia transportation system. His company refined gasoline so that trains could run from Philadelphia and out into the suburbs.

Dad's legacy was continued by his son George, who with his friends, founded Abington Memorial Hospital in 1914.

Thanks, George. Otherwise I would have had to deliver on my living room couch.

If you're an important wealthy person, you'll wanna live in an impressive house or island, so the Elkins family built this estate. You can judge for yourself if you're impressed or not.

This is a house, ladies and gentlemen, and George the butler will take your wraps and bring you into the sitting room while while Mr. Elkins finishes up a little paperwork at his desk. Can I get you some cognac while you're waiting?

Yes, please, I answer.

Now, you've heard of Tyler Art School, part of Temple University. They did move into the city, but Stella Elkins Tyler (young Stella married Mr Tyler) donated acres of land for an art school to be built in Elkins Park.

Stella had a feel for art and made hundreds of small sculptures which dotted the Tyler campus.

Here is one of her many female nudes. It was modeled on someone she knew. Perhaps her maid.

Hold on, I'm gonna call my maid now.

"Lee-Ann! Would you mind getting me another bowl of peanuts? I'm kinda twisted up here at the laptop and don't feel like getting up."

(We pay her very well.)

Stella Elkins, according to a PBS show, was......a manic-depressive!

Here's Arthur Krasner at another poetry venue, slender, white-haired, well-dressed with eyes of bright blue. His daughter Judy reconvened the poets tonite and here we were.

In for the event were Steve Delia (his photo is at the very top emerging from the library) - he read a poem about being laid off a few months ago after working at a company for 31 years! - Allan Rubin, who read a lovely tribute to Arturo, and Audrey Bookspan, a retired dancer who performed with Martha Graham and read some short poetry.

The new head of the program is poet .... hold on, I've got it wrin on my pad ....

Oh, thanks Lee-Ann. Her name is Kristina Marconi.

We always have a featured poet, someone who stands up there and orates for half an hour.The charismatic poet was named Helen Vitoria and she's published extensively.

She encouraged us to ask questions. Since we had a rather small audience and b/c I am curious I did ask her some questions, like "What inspired you to write the poem?"

Sometimes a friend would tell her a story and she would incorporate that into a poem.

 Helen joked about having terrible relationships with men and we all laffed. My poem-to-read was about a terrible relationship with a man. Helen came with a man named Walt who one wonders if she has a terrible relationship with.

I asked Walt, who was sitting in front of me, if he'd mail me photos of tonite's event, which so far he has not.

"I didn't take a picture of you," he said.

"Oh, I don't care," I said. "It's the other people I want."

I wanted to see Kevin's picture. He's been there many times and has an unusual head of hair. Look, I know I'm half bald, but Kevin is not. His hair is parted on the left - do people still part their hair? - and then it spews out darkly on either side of his head.

Arthur Krasnow spent his last months at the Abramson Home in Horsham. Daughter Judy likes the place. Her mother Pearl is there.

The last time I saw Arthur I blogged and photoed about the event. Judy was there too. She admits she looks just like her dad and that one of her sons looks like dad.

The last time we saw Arthur, he was having difficult talking, the unusual respiratory ailment that would put him in Abramson's and finally kill him.

Three people were snapping pictures with their tiny cameras. Of all the times to not bring my camera! Here's what I wanted to take a pic of.

Judy and her sisters are cleaning out dad's house. They found a big notebook of his poems and letters all the way back to when he was in the navy in WW2. He wrote a tender and loving letter to his father.....in Russian. Apparently Arthur learned Russian in WW2.

When I saw that notebook I wanted to say to Walt, please photograf that notebook and mail it to me. But I do not know Walt.

I walked out with Allan Rubin and his enormous white moustache. His car is on the blink, or if you watch film noir movies, the car is on the brink, so he was gonna take public transportation home.

When I got home I listened to Terry Gross, a show about nursing homes. I earmarked it for Facebook, saying "Everyone over 55 should spend 20 minutes listening to this."

No one "liked" it.

This is Martin Bayne, a former Zen monk. Read his article in the Washington Post. He is now 62,

But I loved that show. A man named Martin Bayne had early-onset Parkinson's and at 52 was confined to a nursing home. He greets every single new member of the facility. He also videotapes them to get their stories, which they are only too happy to tell. When the person dies, he shares it with their family.


Happy birthday to my husband of long ago
the day went by and I thought of you while writing out a check
the numbers “9/6”
your Social Security number is still in my desk drawer
though when you passed you were too young to collect.

And that jacket you left here when you and Donna came up
to visit the kids
it’s still in my closet
with nary a white hair or an eyelash
or a sprizt of deoderant to remind me
you were once the man who swept me off my feet
with your command of knowledge
as we lay in that field in Bucks County
you pointed out the clouds in the blue sky
Cumulus, I believe you said, then drew me to you,

I looked into your sad blue eyes
the son of a drunkard who ran you over
when you were a boy
and left you for dead

Don’t worry, I will heal you with my love
my vast fields of love I will pour like honey
from my mouth and my body
You took me to your country of Texas
where we tried to make the marriage work
but your anger spewed like lava rocks
from your mouth
I was young and beautiful then
and departed in secret
with our daughter and unborn son

I will keep your jacket from Bobzien Tailors of
Oklahoma City
the kids can throw it away when they clean the house.

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