Thursday, July 12, 2007

Feliz Cumpleanos @ Red Poppy Art House

The WORDParty recently partnered with The Red Poppy Art House andCity Lights to organize a special night to celebrate Pablo Neruda’s 103rd Birthday. Held at the Red Poppy Art House in the heart of the Mission on July 12, 2007, the magical night was filled with fantastic poetry and film.

We had a very large turnout, in fact, the show was SOLD OUT! 

There were several exclusive readings from many of our participating poets. The evening began with Mark Eisner, who read from his wildly popular bookThe Essential Neruda: Selected Poems published by City Lights. He also showed highlights from the new version of his film formerly known as Pablo Neruda! Presente! Kristen Sbrogna graced the mic with her East Bay allure as she read a few of her favorite Neruda poems, as well as, her own poetry about the wonders of the Berkeley free clinic.

Another Pablo was present during the evening, Pablo Rosales! He impressed the crowd with not only his dapper appearance, but the Neruda poetry he recited from memory. He also read Neruda-inspired poems from his recently published book, Poems in the Palm of My Head.

Jennifer Barone electrified the audience with a passionate reading of Neruda’s "Poet's Obligation" and “Ode to the Tomato" alongside her original Ode to the Tomato. She also read "Poetry Like Bread is for Everyone,” from her recent book, Secret City, which was inspired by a quote from Neruda.

Johnathan Siegel showed us poetic alchemy as he interwove his poetry with that of Neruda’s. He began with a slow muted voice and then crescendo’d into a giant volcano spewing hot love poems! The audience responded with a thunderous clapping to one poem in particular, “And it is Then That I Will Beat.” 

Barbara Paschke, translator extraordinaire, shared some of her beautifully crafted translations from poets around the world. 

Adrian Arias was our bilingue poetry chef of the evening! As he recited poetry in Spanish, Adrian was able to convey the importance of reading Neruda in his native language. Adrian revealed through his poetry, his very famous ceviche recipe and even provided sample tastes!

In addition to organizing and hosting the evening, Ingrid Keir closed it with several of Pablo’s poems that resonate with her the most. She noted "Growing up on the beach with sand between my toes, and playing in the tide pools even as an adult, I connect with Neruda’s poems about the sea." Ingrid read Neruda's “Maremoto” (or “Sea Quake”) as well as her own “Mendocino” and “Feliz Cumpleanos Pablo Neruda” which was written for this special evening.

The enthusiasm throughout the evening was a clear indication of how much Neruda has touched all of us. We’d like to thank everyone for helping to make this night a possibility and a huge success!
Mark Eisner introduces his film
Ingrid Keir Reads & Hosts
Jonathan Siegel
Barbara Pashke & Jennifer Barone
Pablo Rosales
Adrian Arias