Memorial Reading for Poet/Teacher Louis McKeeThe Fox Chase Reading Series will hold a memorial reading in honor of Northeast Philadelphia Poet and Father Judge High School teacher Louis McKee. Mr. McKee passed away on November 21, 2012. The event will be held on April 29th, 1:30pm-3:30pm at Ryerss Museum and Library in Fox Chase, 7370 Central Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19111. Seventeen collections of McKee’s poetry were published over his lifetime. Father Judge Graduates, The Sun Bear Trio and Poet Steve Delia will open the event followed by the presentation of a Pennsylvania State Citation by State Representative Michael McGeehan in honor of Mr. McKee.The second half of the event will feature poets reading the poems of Louis McKee. Friends, Poets and former students are invited to join the memorial sharing memories of Mr. McKee. For more information please visit: Northeast Philadelphia Memorial for Poet/Teacher Louis McKee
Our hats are off to 7KP poet Christina Hutchins, whose full-length collection, The Stranger Dissolves, is a finalist for the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award. Good luck, Christina!
And congrats to Catherine Staples, whose gorgeous chapbook, Never a Note Forfeit, has just gone into its fourth printing!
(Originally posted by Eileen D’Angelo)
A great light has gone out of the Philadelphia literary community, and for many of us who loved Philadelphia teacher and poet Louis McKee. There will be a celebration of his remarkable life on Sunday, March 18th at 1 pm at the Mansion Parlor and Gallery of Media Borough Hall, 301 North Jackson Street, Media, PA 19063. Please join us that day.
Remembrances, stories and memories will be shared by his friends including Daniel Hoffman, WD Ehrhart, Joe Farley, Harry Humes, Paul Martin, Ray Greenblatt, Thomas Devaney, Elaine Terranova, Steve Delia, Peter Krok, Dan Maguire, Lynn Levin, Barb Crooker, Richard Bank, Mel Brake, Eileen D’Angelo and many others. Everyone is invited to come and take to the podium, or rise from their seats, Quaker-style, as the spirit moves them, to share one of your favorite poems written by Lou, or tell a story, an anecdote or share a fond memory of our dear friend and Northeast Philadelphia’s native son. Please come and help us celebrate his life. Feel free to copy and forward this message. With your help, we can make it a very special day to remember him.
We’re terribly saddened to just hear of the passing of Lou McKee, who died yesterday (the very day his chapbook, No Matter, was re-released). I’m passing along this announcement by Eileen D’Angelo:
With a sad and heavy heart, I am writing to let you know that our friend and Philadelphia poet, Louis McKee, died yesterday, November 21st.
A dear friend of so many of us on the Philadelphia poetry scene, Lou was most definitely one of its greatest voices. His passing is a great personal loss, as I know it is a great loss to us all. It is an understatement to say that he will be missed by many.
Plans for a memorial service are underway. I will send additional news ASAP.
Louis McKee (born July 31, 1951, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) has been a fixture of the Philadelphia poetry scene since the early 70s. He is the author of Schuylkill County (Wampeter, 1982), The True Speed of Things (Slash & Burn, 1984), and fourteen other collections. More recently, he has published River Architecture: Poems from Here & There 1973-1993 (Cynic, 1999), Loose Change (Marsh River Editions, 2001), and a volume in the Pudding House Greatest Hits series. Gerald Stern has called his work “heart-breaking” and “necessary,” while William Stafford has written, “Louis McKee makes me think of how much fun it was to put your hand out a car window and make the air carry you into quick adventures and curlicues. He is so adept at turning all kinds of sudden glimpses into good patterns.” Naomi Shihab Nye says, “Louis McKee is one of the truest hearts and voices in poetry we will ever be lucky to know.”
Near Occasions of Sin, a collection issued in 2006 by Cynic Press, has been praised by Brendan Kennelly: “I really admire, and like, deeply, Louis McKee’s poems. They have two qualities I love – clarity and candour. And they often tell stories even as they evoke mysteries of being. And they engage a great deal with people. “The Soldier,” for example, is stunning for its pure drama. Then, he is a moving, complex love-poet, at once passionate and reserved. McKee’s poems are like flashes of spirit rooted in the body. He never hides behind, or in, obscurity. Near Occasions of Sin is utterly unpretentious because his genius (I think he has that) is so real; “I am content with this,” he says at the end of “Failed Haiku,” and this readiness to be himself, in all his complexity and simplicity, is, I think, the basis of the appeal of this most unusual and attractive book. Sometimes, McKee talks to his reader and it is like talking to a next-door neighbor (that’s what I mean by candour in these poems). Also, they sound like songs at times-winged, humane, vulnerable.”
Philip Dacey, writing about McKee’s poetry in Schuylkill Valley Journal (#24, spring, 2007) says, “It is the essence of McKee’s work to be rich in artifice and craftsmanship and informed poetic strategies while at the same time consistently brave in its presentation of two confrontations: a person’s with himself and that person’s with the world outside himself. To read McKee is to witness drama and struggle; if the art is hard-won, the human victories are, too.”
Warren Woessner, in the American Book Review (Jan/Feb 2007, Vol 28, No. 2), writes that McKee’s poems have a “surprising honesty…. In this era of superconfessional hubris, we are told that no topic is off-limits, but, if this is so, why are so many of these poems startling? Picasso said, “art is not truth,” and I know that to be true, but it is important to the force of these poems that I can believe that the poet is giving us his stories straight up.”
McKee was a longtime editor of the Painted Bride Quarterly. During his tenure, he edited three special issues, celebrating the work of Etheridge Knight and John Logan, as well as a retrospective, 20th-anniversary volume of the PBQ. He operated Banshee Press and edited the magazine One Trick Pony until its demise in 2007.
Our congratulations to three more Seven Kitchens authors on their wonderful accomplishments:
- Daniel Jaffe’s new book of fiction, Jewish Gentle & Other Stories of Gay-Jewish Living, is just out from White Crane Books!
- Pedro Ponce has won a $25,000 NEA Grant!
- Collin Kelly’s second full-length poetry collection, “Render,” will be published in 2013 by Sibling Rivalry Press!
Please share the word and support these fine writers by reading their work!
Please join us in congratulating our authors on the forthcoming publication of their first full-length collections:
Catherine Staples’ collection, The Rattling Window, will be published by Ashland Poetry Press. Catherine is the author of Never a Note Forfeit, co-winner of the 2010 Keystone Chapbook Prize. In other news, Catherine’s poem “Red Rover” won the Guy Owen Prize from the Southern Poetry Review.
Matthew Hittinger’s collection, Skin Shift, will be published in June 2012 by Sibling Rivalry Press. Matthew is the author of Platos de Sal, #2 in our Editor’s Series.
We also have word that Steven Riel’s first full-length collection has found a publisher–more word on that as soon as we hear. Steven is the author of Postcard from P-town, #2 in our Robin Becker Chapbook Series.
And please check out a new blog from Steve Turtell, Adventures of a Working Stiff: 50 Jobs in 50 Years: fascinating narratives about some of the many jobs Steve has held. Steve is the author of Letter to Frank O’Hara, #3 in our ReBound Series.