I went to the Bi-Annual Meeting of the Former English Majors of America also known as the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in Stanhope, New Jersey.
Getting there was half the fun or half the misery depending on which of my multiple personalities answers the question. Lately the directions from Mapquest have been a little lacking, but as I drove along yesterday I imagined that they were created by a 21 year old woman stuck in a cubicle who was very very stoned. They sent me on the most obscure back roads of New Jersey that I had ever been on...go .3 miles on LeatherBucket Lane, turn left on Doe Run Drive, .1 miles, 3.9 on route 513. There must have been 32 turns and nothing was on a major road.
But I traveled rural roads I'd never been on past streams and farms and fields of pumpkins. There was lots of mist, some deep ravines and at one point a hawk dove in front of my car. Thank you stoned girl in the cubicle.
But once I was there I saw
Maxine Kumin!Gerald Stern!
And lots of other poets...but the most important poet there was my friend Penny. We've gone to the festival together three times. There was lots of tears and laughter, all crammed into the too short hours of the day. Her favorite poem is "Morning Swim" by Maxine Kumin. And we were both in the tent when Kumin said that she wanted to recite a poem from memory and she closed her eyes and took us all on a morning swim.
As for the ride home: Route 206 to 80 to 202. But those Mapquest directions are safely tucked away.