Bertha Rogers on The Art and Soul of the Catskills Festival

Bertha Rogers's  poetry collections include Sleeper, You Wake: and Heart Turned Back. Her translation of Beowulf was published in 2000.  Bertha is the founding Executive Director of Bright Hill Press & Literary Center, and has been organizing readings in the Catkills since 1991. She is also the Poet Laureate of Delaware County, New York. Bertha blogs about the Poets & Writers-supported The Art and Soul of the Catskills Festival.

For the past several years, I've organized poetry and prose readings sponsored by Poets & Writers for The Art and Soul of the Catskills Festival held in Delhi, New York. The readers are regional authors, most of whom have published collections of poetry or novels; and the readings  are held in a tent on the village square in Delhi, the seat of Delaware County. The square was immortalized on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1951.

Poets Barry Seiler (Frozen Falls) and John Paul O'Connor (Poems for the First Hundred Days); novelists Mermer Blakeslee (In Dark Water), Charlotte Zoe Walker (Condor and Hummingbird), Marjorie B. Kellogg (Lear's Daughters) and many more have read in the tent on the green. Young writers have been introduced at the Festival, too; winners of Bright Hill's Share the Words Poetry Competition and the Empire State Poetry Competition. Reading for the Festival is a unique and picturesque experience; festival-goers meander around the square, stopping in artists' booths and food concessions until, finding thier way to the authors' tent, they sit and enjoy the words in the air.  After the readings, there are lively Q&A periods and time to sign books.  These Art and Soul Readings are snapshots of rural America enjoying both emerging and established writers.

Photo:  Bertha Rogers.   Photo Credit:  Bertha Rogers.  

Support for Readings/Workshops in New York is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, with additional support from the Friends of Poets & Writers.