Poet Lee Rossi was the featured reader for March. Christine Richardson, co-host of the Willow Glen Poetry Project, introduced Lee with these words:
Dennis and I first heard our featured reader in Palo Alto. We were both amused and moved. Now after reading and hearing more of Lee Rossi’s work, we see why that was inevitable. Lee pursues a wide range of topics and experiences that draw out a wide range of emotions. I was amazed and curious about how one mind could fathom so many disparate ideas.
In speaking to Lee before the reading, he said he had led a boring life so he set out, after five years in a seminary, on a “mission” to give himself something to write about. And indeed he has succeeded. His humor comes through in such poems as “Pantoumime” in which his pantoum with its compulsion to repeat himself goes to lunch with a producer. More hilarity when the speaker’s mojo quits in “When I Lost It” but all ends happily as he replays the story of his life editing and adding characters and mojo to his heart’s content. Then quickly the mood can shift into another dimension, as in the poem, “Festival of Mars.” The conclusion is particularly haunting following the recent tragedy in Afghanistan.
Lee has been published in numerous journals, including The Harvard Review and The Southern Poetry Review. He has published three books of poetry. Thursday’s reading contained poems from Ghost Diary and his latest book of poems, Wheelchair Samurai and concluded with many wonderful new poems to be included in Lee’s next book. He said that many of them were being presented for the first time.
In one of his two bios, Lee joked that he would like to see the installation of a Tomb of the Unknown Poet dedicated to “all who have labored in Poetry’s vineyards without tasting any of her grapes.” Well, we were fortunate to have been served and to have savored the wine of Lee Rossi’s poetry and look forward to more in the future.