Monthly Archives: October 2010

Just Poets Reading Series

Nancy Chalker-Tennant will be the featured reader Thursday, October 14 for the Just Poets Reading Series. The reading starts at 7:00 pm and will be followed by an open mic.

A bit about Nancy: Nancy Chalker-Tennant is both a poet and visual artist who teaches in both disciplines in the Rochester, NY area where she lives. While she is concentrating on poetry, her work has included painting, printmaking and small editions of hand made “artists’ books” some of which are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Yale University Library, and The Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry. Nancy is the recipient of several grants including a Mid-Atlantic National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and New York State Council on the Arts grants, among others. Her poetry has been anthologized in Le Mot Juste.

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Home from Poland

After nearly five weeks in the land of my paternal ancestors, I am finally home.

This trip to Poland has been more than worth the time and effort. I am most grateful to Axis Mundi, the arts organization that sponsored the writer’s residency through the Art Factory in Bialystok; Don and Betty Orr, who shared their home and their perspective on Polish life from the point of view of North Americans living there for more than 10 years; Jolanta Wolagiewicz who introduced me to numerous contacts in my search for information on old Polish legends and folktales; my family and friends, who came to the rescue both personally and professionally allowing me to devote the time to take this trip; and the Arts & Cultural Council of Greater Rochester, which financially supported my travel. I am also grateful to my fellow writers-in-residence: Toni Denis, Kelly Hayes-Raitt, Eveyln Posamentier, Mairin O’Grady, and Dianna Mertz for their support and friendship throughout this adventure.

Uncovering one’s roots affords the opportunity to make some sense of that which has often been taken for granted or gone unnoticed altogether. Background scenery–poplar, birch, and plum trees decimated by blight in Western New York thrive in the old country. Willows have more reason to weep in Poland, a nation all too often trounced upon by its neighbors. Poland is a nation long on tradition and determination. This is not a backward culture stuck in the time of cart and horse. This is a culture which has rebuilt itself time and again for a better future. This is a culture whose people, some whose courage enabled them to remain steadfast through the worst their enemies could do and others whose courage pressed them on to new lands where they worked to preserve their culture and language as they blended into foreign societies, have the resolve to persevere. It is this perseverance that remains in the genetic memory of those of us who lay claim to Polish ancestry, this unwillingness to be resigned to the acceptance of what is unacceptable.

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