The Oberlin Review
<< Front page Arts September 28, 2007

Main St. Series Kicks Off With Dinosaurs and Catholicism

The 2007 – 2008 season of the Main Street Reading Series launched last Sunday with a breath of fresh talent at FAVA Gallery.

First on the docket was Sarah Green, OC ’02, returning to her alma mater this year as a visiting professor. Her collection contained a large cut of tributes to her yesteryear capers at Oberlin College detailing experiences with civil disobedience, the cold and the legacy of the Underground Railroad.

“Math Tutor” featured Green’s former fourth grade charge at the local public school: “When you don’t take off your sunglasses it means you aren’t speaking either, so it’s a dinosaur book afternoon.”

“I remember a sociology major came in once from the College to survey the kids on the ideal man and woman. All the kids were like, ‘My tutor is the ideal man, ideal woman,’ but mine said Jennifer Lopez,” she remarked afterwards with a grin.

Green also shared a prose poem about a student addressing the state of Ohio. “I want to tell you about kissing in a pickup truck,” said Green, “but that was Kentucky…You are the folk song no one knows and no one misses.”

Other selections included meditations on a collapsed oven and “Chances Are,” a strip club in Lafayette, Indiana that Green converts to a space of big heart and possibilities.

Picking up the second half of the program was Cleveland poet Dave Lucas. Lucas read grave, incising probes of simple bodies — “Firefly” as a thing of ecstasies and “Sophomores” as “zealots of June,” who stand “quiet and apart, as if their beauty were an inconsolable grief.”

Of divergent temper were an antic poetic rendering of the Town Musicians of Bremen, who serenade to the effect of “a ploughshare dragged across a field of slate” and a handful of tart couplets dispensed throughout.

“There was a time when the only things I could write were these little epigrams that rhymed,” said Lucas.

“On Catholicism: On which conception was immaculate,” read Lucas, “I have been, apparently, inaccurate.”

Both bards have impressive credentials: Green has taught at Emerson and Wheaton Colleges of Boston, Massachusetts, after earning an MFA at Purdue University, where she studied poetry with Guggenheim Fellow Marianne Boruch; Lucas, recipient of the 2005 Joan Leiman Jacobson Poetry Prize, studied at John Carroll University and the University of Virginia with Rita Dove, Charles Wright and Greg Orr.

This reading, hosted by Professor Emeritus David Young and students of the creative writing department, was tailed by a reception and book raffle. The year-long series will pick up again on October 28.


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