The East End Dead Poets Society Is Alive and Well at Duck Creek - 27 East

Arts & Living

Arts & Living / 2203802

The East End Dead Poets Society Is Alive and Well at Duck Creek

icon 6 Photos
Poet Grace Schulman reads at the podium during a previous event at the Arts Center at Duck Creek. JESSE FROST

Poet Grace Schulman reads at the podium during a previous event at the Arts Center at Duck Creek. JESSE FROST

Poet Julie Sheehan will read poems by John Ashbery and Barbara Guest on Saturday. CHRISTIAN MCLEAN

Poet Julie Sheehan will read poems by John Ashbery and Barbara Guest on Saturday. CHRISTIAN MCLEAN

Sag Harbor poet Kathryn Levy will be reading the work of Frank O’Hara and Harvey Shapiro at Duck Creek. JOYCE RAVID

Sag Harbor poet Kathryn Levy will be reading the work of Frank O’Hara and Harvey Shapiro at Duck Creek. JOYCE RAVID

Philip Schultz will be reading poetry by Robert Long, David Ignatow and Kenneth Koch. MONICA BANKS

Philip Schultz will be reading poetry by Robert Long, David Ignatow and Kenneth Koch. MONICA BANKS

Springs poet Grace Schulman will read Walt Whitman, Howard Moss and Naomi Lazard at Duck Creek. COURTESY THE AUTHOR

Springs poet Grace Schulman will read Walt Whitman, Howard Moss and Naomi Lazard at Duck Creek. COURTESY THE AUTHOR

Springs poet Grace Schulman will read Walt Whitman, Howard Moss and Naomi Lazard at Duck Creek. COURTESY THE AUTHOR

Springs poet Grace Schulman will read Walt Whitman, Howard Moss and Naomi Lazard at Duck Creek. COURTESY THE AUTHOR

authorKelly Ann Smith on Sep 25, 2023

“We’ve got to believe Whitman was here,” said Grace Schulman sitting on a bench at the end of Springs Fireplace Road.

Looking out at Gardiner’s Bay, the poet is reminded of Walt Whitman’s words from “Leaves of Grass,” his most famous book, and especially the poem “From Montauk Point.”

Technically we don’t know if Whitman was in Springs but his descriptive writings are so typical of our little territory here that Schulman is convinced. “I feel he was. I’m sure of it,” she said.

Whitman is one of three poets Schulman will be reading at the Arts Center at Duck Creek in East Hampton this Saturday, September 30, at 3 p.m.

“I will be reading Whitman, Howard Moss and Naomi Lazard,” she said. “I’m excited about this reading. Our Dead Poets Society of East Hampton.”

Schulman recently retired as Distinguished Professor of English at Baruch College, City University of New York, after 52 years of teaching. She has been awarded poetry’s top prizes including the Frost Medal for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement in American Poetry and was inducted as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

She’s has also had a home on Kent Place in Springs since 1979.

It was Naomi Lazard who whisked Schulman away in her car to look at houses after a visit to her home on Pantigo Road. Lazard wrote three books of poetry, “Cry of the Peacocks,” “Moonlit Upper Deckerina” and “Ordinances,” and was a founder of the Hamptons International Film Festival.

“She died recently,” said Schulman. “I was the last person to speak with her. We were very close friends. I’m here because of her.”

Schulman bought the first house she looked at. She fell in love with the cedar trees and the large studio, which previously belonged to the sculptor Calvin Albert. “This is where I wanted to be,” she said. “This is where I work by the sea. Inspired by the sea.”

Her latest book, “Again, the Dawn: New and Collected Poems 1976 - 2022,” represents all of her poetry collected so far. “The important thing is that I keep writing,” she said. “That book is not the end. I have a lot of new poems, which will be my tenth book of poems.”

Unlike Lazard, “poor Howard Moss had to learn how to drive to live here,” Schulman said of her beloved friend and poetry editor of The New Yorker for 40 years. “It was a big deal when he passed his driver’s license test.” Schulman will have no problem choosing poems from Moss’s 10 books of poetry.

Also taking part in the event at Duck Creek will be Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and founder of the Writers Studio in New York, Philip Schultz who grew up in Rochester, New York but raised his two sons with his wife, sculptor Monica Banks, in East Hampton.

“In June 1977 I rented a house with friends and between stepping off a train in Amagansett and reaching the house I rented I knew I wanted to live here,” he said. “The beauty is spectacular, the light famous and curative. I’ve written about this world in poetry and prose and never ceased to find it inspiring.”

Schultz will be reading Robert Long, David Ignatow and Kenneth Koch.

“Robert Long was a lifetime resident of Springs who went to the public schools here, was a wonderful poet and art writer for The East Hampton Star for many years and a dear friend,” said Schultz.

David Ignatow, also a longtime resident of Springs, was a major American poet who taught at many universities, including Columbia and New York University. “A close friend and mentor for many years, I admired his wry humor, nostalgia and passion for the overlooked and uncelebrated,” Schultz said.

Kenneth Koch, along with John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara, were founders of the New York School of poetry. “A major poet, he also held a strong presence out here, especially among artists friends like Pollock and de Kooning,” said Schultz.

Kathryn Levy will be reading the work of Frank O’Hara and Harvey Shapiro at Duck Creek, both of whom have long been important to the Sag Harbor poet.

When Levy first came to Sag Harbor 32 years ago, she stumbled across Canio’s Books on Main Street and met the shop’s owner Canio Pavone, a great supporter of poetry. “Not many months after that meeting he asked me to do my first reading at the bookstore, the first of many,” she said. “His press, Canio’s Editions, ended up being the publisher of my first book, ‘Losing the Moon.’

“So, we came here for the sea, but discovered the area was remarkable in many other ways,” she said.

Levy finds a sense of discovery and adventure in the poetry of O’Hara and Shapiro, although their styles are very different. “What they have in common is that their work is intensely alive, with a remarkably clear eye for detail and in each case a unique tone,” she said. “I often walk around reciting lines of their poems to myself.

“I also considered Harvey a dear friend. I saw him frequently, and was lucky enough to be in two reading groups with him. I was always struck by his rigor and breadth of knowledge about literature,” she said. “Even toward the end of his life, when he struggled with many health problems, he never lost his curiosity, sense of humor and passion for poetry.”

Levy will read Shapiro’s poem, “Psalm” that he wrote in his 80s but was not published until after his death. “I think it’s one of the best poems he ever wrote,” she said.

Poet Julie Sheehan, Associate Professor in the MFA in Creative Writing & Literature program at Stony Brook Southampton, will read John Ashbery and Barbara Guest, who share an absurdist sense of humor. “I’m not sure about Guest, but with Ashbery, I have a hunch that his subject is sincerity,” Sheehan said.

Meredith Hasemann, organizer of the upcoming poetry event, is not reading, but Robert Long, David Ignatow, and Naomi Lazard, were all great mentors of the teacher and poet. If she was reading, she would consider Frank O’Hara’s poem “Oranges.”

“Not only do I love his work, but I also love to visit him at the Green River Cemetery, and that poem has long been a favorite of mine,” Hasemann said. “Luckily, all of the poets I would have read have been claimed by the panelists, and for that, I am very grateful.”

Hasemann will organize the audience participation portion of the event. “I am going to make a packet of work from local poets we have lost, along with a poem from each of the panelists for reference on hand,” she said. After the panel discussion, anybody who would like to share a voice may read from the packet.

“Duck Creek is the perfect venue for this particular event,” Hasemann said. “It is all about respecting the valuable place our community holds in artistic history. Each one of us owes so much to the voices that sang here through writing and art, and I think this will be evident on Saturday.”

The East End Dead Poets Society reading and discussion is Saturday, September 30, from 3 to 5 p.m. To register for the event, visit duckcreekarts.org. The Arts Center at Duck Creek is at 127 Squaw Road in Springs.

You May Also Like:

Tab Benoit and Anders Osborne on Their ‘I Heart Thunder’ Tour

The Suffolk presents two legendary blues guitarists — Tab Benoit and Anders Osborne — performing ... 12 Jul 2024 by Staff Writer

The Films Keep Rolling at The Suffolk

The Suffolk began showing films in April, beginning with “The Philadelphia Story” and “Beauty and the Beast.” The new series was met with rave reviews echoing the desire for somewhere to see classic and family favorites back on the big screen. Now featuring new lunch and kid-friendly menu offerings to enjoy throughout the movies, these films are a great way to spend an afternoon or evening with the whole family. Classic and family films keep rolling at The Suffolk on Sunday, July 21, with a screening of “Lawrence of Arabia” at 1 p.m. and “Toy Story” at 5 p.m. “Lawrence ... by Staff Writer

The Watermill Center's Summer Benefit Is Back

The Watermill Center’s Annual Summer Benefit returns on Saturday, July 27, as an immersive, one-of-a-kind experience for guests to explore over 20 site-specific installations and performances throughout Watermill’s 10+ acre flagship grounds. This year’s theme is “A Laboratory: 100 Years of Experimentation,” a nod to the building’s origin as the Western Union Water Mill Lab, today a laboratory for the arts and humanities. The event will honor legendary dancer and choreographer Lucinda Childs, longtime friend and collaborator of Robert Wilson, and will feature a series of performances restaging Childs’s seminal works, featuring the artist’s niece Ruth Childs and longtime collaborator ... 11 Jul 2024 by Staff Writer

'The Edward Twins Ultimate Variety Show' Brings Vegas to The Suffolk

The Suffolk welcomes back Las Vegas’ top impersonators The Edwards Twins with “The Ultimate Variety ... by Staff Writer

Going Back to the '80s at The Suffolk With Electric Avenue

The Suffolk presents “Electric Avenue: The ’80s MTV Experience” on Friday, August 2, at 8 ... by Staff Writer

The Suffolk Presents Felicia Collins, Playing Sly and the Family Stone Greatest Hits

The Suffolk presents Felicia Collins, a lead guitarist and featured singer on the “Late Show ... by Staff Writer

Fridays Are for Family Fun at LTV

This summer, LTV Studios will launch a new series, Friday Family Frolics, on various Fridays. ... by Staff Writer

Steve Earle Comes to Montauk This July

The legendary Steve Earle comes to the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, on Wednesday, July 24, ... 10 Jul 2024 by Staff Writer

‘Cassoulet Confessions’: Sylvie Bigar’s Exploration of a Culinary Passion Brings Her to Bridgehampton's Barnes & Noble This Weekend for a Book Signing

Back in mid-January on a frigid night in Vermont, Sylvie Bigar, a food writer and ... 9 Jul 2024 by Annette Hinkle

Famed Storyteller Garrison Keillor Performs at The Suffolk

The Suffolk welcomes back famed storyteller Garrison Keillor on Wednesday, July 31, at 8 p.m. ... by Staff Writer