The sixth season of Faculty Poets Present began Monday, Sept. 13 with readings by SUNY New Paltz professors Howie Good and Larry Carr.
Students and teachers alike filled the seats of the Honors Center in SUNY New Paltz’s College Hall to experience the work of these accomplished professors and poets.
Good has been widely published over the last 24 years and is the author of more than 18 poetry chapbooks. He has also authored two complete collections of poetry, Lovesick, which was released last year, and Heart With a Dirty Windshield, which is still yet to print. In addition to being publisher of The Little Rebellion, Good has taught and is currently teaching a variety of classes in the Communications/Media Department at SUNY New Paltz, and has even developed a following among students who love his classes. Alli Sofer, a third year Journalism major from Queens, N.Y. is a self-professed “groupie” of the professor and poet. She attended the reading on the 13th because she had both taken Good’s classes and heard his poetry before. She also called the reading, “something to do on a Monday night.”
Carr also has a claim to fame. He is a published prose writer, poet, and playwright. In addition to all of this and his full-time position teaching creative and dramatic writing at SUNY New Paltz, he founded the SUNY Playwrights’ Project and won the 2005-2006 Adjunct Teacher of the Year award.
Good and Carr have been longtime friends, despite their immensely different styles of writing and reading their poetry. This was apparent as Carr very genuinely and warmly introduced Good to begin the reading.
Good opened the reading by telling the audience, “poetry can be everything the poet is capable of making it,” and calling himself a manic-depressive, not without a chuckle. This seemed to be the case as he began to read his prose poems that were dripping in cynicism and sarcastic humor. Good read 12 poems beginning with “My Author Photo” and continued with such titles as “Armageddon Mon Amour,” “Bridge Freezes Before Road,” and “Pilots Call Them Flying Coffins.”
If the audience felt a little introspective and cynical after Good’s somber, sober reading, Carr’s rhythmic, dramatic, sing-song reading certainly lightened their collective mood. While Good’s poetry was observational and mostly nonfictional, Carr’s poetry was more character-based with elements of both fiction and theater throughout. Professor Carr says he gets inspiration from everywhere and anywhere — from politics to nature — and that the resulting poem is never what he set out to write. “It’s like I’m planting a seed,” Carr explained , “and I don’t know what the plant is yet.” Carr’s poems carry such titles as, “Journey Through Scythera,” “Carving in Bamboo,” and “Seduction of Henrietta Pussycat by the Lover-Thief Coyote.”
Besides in talent and creativity, these two poets were contrasting in every imaginable way — from content to manner and tone — and their work combined left the audience satisfied, impressed, and well balanced whether they were there because they love poetry, the poets, or just needed “something to do on a Monday night.” If you missed the first reading and are feeling a little left out, you’ll have another opportunity on Oct. 18 when the next poetry reading is scheduled to take place at SUNY New Paltz.