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Open Mic kickoff at Dansville Fairy Festival

By Jasmine Willis

DANSVILLE — McFadden Coffee was buzzing with poetry, music, and storytelling on the Dansville Fairy Festival.

On June 3 Just Poets, Inc. members Jennifer Maloney and Bart White shared some poems on film, war, and pride. An anthology of poetry from all over the world about the silver screen were shared with fellow performers. Moving Images tells in-depth discussions about the films we all grew up watching.

Poet George Guida also shared some of his work with the audience about Goodfellas actor Ray Liotta. Liotta passed recently at the age of 67. Guida talked about how this film impacted the Italian American community in the city. It was a profound tribute to an inspirational actor.

White and Maloney talked about the search for the greatest poems on film and media.

“Bart and I talked on the way here about this anthology we both love and have spent so much time with over the past year. It started one summer at Bart’s house in 2018 at a dinner party. I had written a poem recently, and we all sat around reading poetry to one another,” Maloney said. “I had written a poem about a photograph I had seen of James Dean in a grocery store. At first glance it looks like James Dean is shopping. You start to notice these little details. He doesn’t have a cart. He is standing there with a bag. He is wearing his sunglasses in the store. I began to think the photograph was staged.”

Maloney said it would be really fun to do a book of poems on movies. As Americans movies are such a huge part of our lives. Going to the movies was always such a big experience for classic Americana.

White said they put out the call on their social media for people all over the world to submit poems. From there it really took off to make this book a reality.

“Over a few months we had so many submissions coming through. We had about 300 poems sent in about this topic,” he said.

Maloney said most of the submissions were absolutely fantastic. They had a really hard time picking them out. They came in from Europe, Africa, Asia, India, Canada and America.

White read some Hitchcock inspired poems about famous works; Psycho, Rearview Window, and The Birds. Maloney shared her poem about James Dean in the grocery store.

Maloney shared another poem from a submission she made to Women Speaks. White shared several war poems written in his latest work, The Art of Restoration about war and addiction.

Guida called them both legends in local poetry. The work they all shared was deeply honest and raw.

There was talk about the famous Ukraine Poet Serhiy Zhadan who has used his work to bring hope to his people.

“I think about what is going on right now in the Ukraine. I was inspired by this famous poet Serhiy Zhadan who has suffered for his poetry. This guy is a hero. He uses a lot of dark humor in his work,” Guida said.

We had others who joined in to share their work. Livonia Poet Beth Ely Sleboda shared some work about giraffes and scarfs. Miranda Casher was visiting on her travels from Los Angeles. She has devoted 20 days to hiking around New York. She shared what she is most proud of from a childrens book. She is working on some soul searching in the hillsides and lakes of the area. We had a college student from Houghton play some tunes from her Ukulele. It was a great kickoff to more open mics to come. Everyone invested their heart and soul into storytelling and music. Keep your eye on McFadden Coffee social media for any future open mics. A renowned typewriter poet is coming for the July 22-23 Mural Festival.

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