Michael Erdelen – Immortality for Poets

The Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs (recently renamed Poetry Society of Indiana) gathered at McCormick’s Creek State Park a couple weeks ago for fellowship and poems, poems, poems. Here’s a presentation by Lowell, IN, poet, Michael Erdelen, called “Immortality for Poets.” Shown with permission.

It was the 37th such gathering for ISFPC, but my first. What impressed me was the immediate camaraderie of the poets. We come from all corners of the state and write all manner and forms of poetry, yet we share a bond of love of words distilled into that poignant or funny phrase. It was easy to plunk myself down at any table and find common ground with whomever was sitting there. It is also a pleasure to hear the different life experiences each writer infused into his or her poetry. Deborah spent years abroad. Joe discovered poetry after a fulfilling career as a neurologist. Whether people had been writing for 75 years or just a few, we’d all heard that common “Call of the Wild.”

My favorite part was hearing the poetry of others, through the contest announcements, round robins, and presentations. I especially enjoyed the half-hour feature readings by Mary Couch, premiere poet. Mary is from my club, Noble Poets. We have a running gag about the proper length of poems. Hers are pithy and beautifully succinct, capturing just a moment, an essence, in a few fine lines. Mine ramble on and on, and are usually about food.

We all got a huge kick out of Warren Jones, who won award after award in the Annual Contest.  Warren sure got his exercise walking up to the podium to read his winning entries! I enjoyed not only the humor of his poems but the voice in which he read them. Warren told me later, “That’s the voice I hear them in. My voice.” Whatever is was that made the magic, it was earthy and charming and fun.

I also fared pretty well in our Annual Contest, and placed in five of the categories. My poem “Calling Hours” won the Grand Prize. I wrote it last year in response to the death of my Uncle Jay.

I’ll be posting highlights from the Rendezvous in future weeks. In the meantime, enjoy the video!

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