By Gino Zamparo
There’s a new poetry venue in Andes and it’s called The Poets Quad. This is the space behind the Hunting Tavern, defined on two sides by the Hunting Tavern itself, and Walter Gladstone’s building on the third side. The fourth side, is the imaginary “fourth wall” looking toward the bank.
The Quad came about as a result of the need for an outdoor space in which to hold a poetry reading. The idea for an outdoor poetry reading was spurred by the need for some live in-person culture during these times and as a result of wanting to keep such live in-person cultural events not too complex.
Primarily, it came about as a result of a love of poetry and of words.
The space behind the Hunting Tavern was chosen because of its shape, a Quad, and its acoustics. Research time had been spent “visiting” other backyards in downtown Andes. With the Quad’s three walls (and the imaginary fourth) I surmised that the acoustics for a non-amplified (no mic) poetry reading would be sound. To finalize the research, I stood in the yard of the Hunting Tavern with my partner Tom: We conversed from afar and heard the sounds of our voices bouncing back, rather than flying off into the distance. We also considered the location from which the poets would read. With the ever-important acoustics in mind, we decided that poets would read from “on high,” the top of the ramp.
From here their voices would carry, but the Quad would contain them by virtue of its shape. It was thus determined that the backyard of the Hunting Tavern would be the place! Though acoustics were of prime importance, time was also spent assessing the angle of the sun at different times of the day in order to help determine the hour at which the event would occur. We wanted the audience to be warm enough, and though a poetry reading is an auditory event more than a visual one, we didn’t want attendees to have to squint as they watched the poets.
I then met with the Board of the Andes Society for History and Culture and I was granted permission to use the space, unofficially dubbed The Poets Quad. Next, I needed poets. I found them through researching local poets on websites, and through anthologies and other paper sources. I researched readings in the area that had occurred in past years and made note of poets’ names and contacted them, cold. Not all replied but some did. Some of the participating poets were found by personal recommendations and simple word of mouth. All poets selected sent me samples of their poems related to the chosen theme.
The theme, I decided, would be LOVE. After reading 50 or so poems, 19 were selected. The order of reading was determined to create a flow from poem to poem; a weave.
Boy, did I enjoy reading all of these poems! I thought, soon I’ll get to hear them live and in person!
The day before the event Tom and I spent time at the Quad, spray paint can in hand, and we marked spots 6 feet apart on which attendees would place their lawn chairs. Our friend Jeff helped with offering a lectern and assessing the space and the light.
The day arrived. It was cloudy (no squinting worries) and warm. Nice. The crowd was close to sell-out! Poets were happy reading, and the audience happy as they listened. People were together, live and in person. Poetry was read and heard. Oh HAPPY DAY!
Poets received a portion of donations collected, as did the Hunting Tavern. Thank you poets, thank you Hunting Tavern, thank you community.
Of important additional note is that two front page photos of our event appear in the October Gazette. These photos by Maria Ditchek depict a bit of the event beautifully. Be sure to look at them again if you haven’t already. Word is the editors: Maria, Buffy Calvert and Judy Garrison had to stop the presses to add these photos to the October issue, printing having already begun. Thank you.~