On the Lighter Side

Humorous poetry group reads at Concord Library this Sunday.

When it comes to poetry, I think it’s safe to say that many people have preconceived notions that it’s supposed to be deep and meaningful, and full of metaphors and the like. Of course, that’s not at all true: think of all the great children’s poetry, by people like Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss. It’s poetry that makes you giggle. And who doesn’t want that??

Well, there is a troop of poets who have their own humorous brand of poetry, and lucky for us, they’ll be reading/performing it this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the main branch of the Concord Library. They call themselves X.J. Kennedy and the Light Brigade: they are five very different poets who like to write on the lighter side of things. Some of them rhyme, while some are more free verse, and they cover subjects from personal predicaments to social satire.

The group came together in 2007, when four of them who were members of the Concord Poetry Center decided to do their own poetry performance, separate from the Center. They called it “On the Light Side” and they enjoyed it so much, they wanted to do more. Around this time their leader, Barbara Lydecker Crane, discovered that there was a famous humor poet living right near her, and she made the bold move of knocking on his door and inviting him to join the troop. X.J. Kennedy, a man with many poetry awards and credits to his name, happily joined in, and the group took off from there.

They’ve been invited to read at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival three times, which is pretty unusual, and in January of 2010 they read at the Hcam TV station in Hopkinton, as part of the monthly poetry and song series called “Wake Up and Smell the Poetry.” So you can see, this group gets around.

When they’re not writing or performing, they all have a wide variety of interests. Barbara Lydecker Crane is an artist whose landscape quilts hang in a number of corporate and private settings; Bob Clawson, a writer, editor, teacher and fisherman who has traveled far and wide; Amy Woods, a ceramics artist who has taught pottery at the ceramics studio connected with Harvard University; Joan Kimball, a founder of the Concord Poetry Center who has been a librarian, teacher and bookstore manager; and Joe Kennedy, who has written textbooks on poetry as well as a translation of Apollinaire’s "Bestiary."

When I was talking with group member Joan Kimball, who lives right here in Concord, recently, I was struck by the fact that she didn’t even think of sending out her poems until she was 71. So you see, it is NEVER too late to embark on that artistic – or other – career you’ve always wanted.

Several of the poets will have copies of their own books of poetry for sale, some at ridiculously reasonable prices, after the reading. If you need more information, check out the library website here.

In other arts news…

If you’ve been following the local High School news recently, you might think all students are involved solely in sports. But there are a group of dramatic teens who prefer spending their off-hours memorizing lines and learning stage blocking. One such group will be presenting The Lion in Winter, billed as “a drama about the ultimate dysfunctional family.” For those of us old enough to remember, this was a movie with Katherine Hepburn in the lead role. Seriously, watching this family will make your family’s holiday shenanigans seem like a cakewalk.

It’s happening this weekend at the high school, and in a creative twist, will take place in the High School library, which has apparently been transformed into a Medieval castle, by some very talented students. Pretty impressive.

The show is this weekend, Dec. 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. General admission tickets are available at the door for $10. More information can be found at the CCPOPS website.


Do you have something you would like to share? Contact me at stefanieac@comcast.net or Maureen at mcb23@comcast.net, and we will be happy to help you spread the good news.


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