Join us for a Poetry Luncheon featuring Merrill Leffler, nationally known as both a poet and as the publisher of Dryad Press. Originally a NASA engineer, Merrill left that career to pursue poetry at Oxford University, subsequently teaching at the University of Maryland and the U.S. Naval Academy. Merrill’s books include Partly Pandemonium, Partly Love; Take Hold,and Mark the Music. As a founder of Dryad Press, Merrill was an early publisher of Pulitzer Prize winner James Wright, among other distinguished authors. In addition, he was a founder of The Writer’s Center, which has served Washington area writers for over forty years. More recently, Merrill translated poetry from Hebrew in collaboration with Moshe Dor and served as Poet Laureate of Takoma Park, Maryland. The Poetry Luncheon will feature a reading of Merrill’s poetry, as well as discussion of his career as a writer, teacher, and publisher. A luncheon and further informal discussion will follow. An excerpt from Merrill's poem, Dismantling, appears below, in which he discusses the process of writing:
First you must lift the idea
(be careful it may be heavy)
and haul it out to the dumpster.
Next locate the meaning—it may not
come easily, though if you have
the right tools and they are good tools
you should have no difficulty. Now
it is the sentences' turn: take each one
strip it of grammar (you may need
abrasives here) and hang them all
on a line. When thoroughly dried,
lay each one down on the grass or
if you live in the city, the sidewalk will do.
The point is, make sure you put them
in harm's way, wherever you are.