The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York


Katonah Poetry Series features literary heavyweights

Brooklyn poet Dennis Nurkse often writes about his native borough. His newest book is entitled “A Night in Brooklyn: Poems.”

The Katonah Poetry Series kicks off its winter season with a New York native who bases his writings on his hometown.

On Sunday, Nov. 11, Brooklyn native Dennis Nurkse — often known as D. Nurkse — will read from his newest collection, “A Night in Brooklyn: Poems,” which was released in July. Mr. Nurkse is an award-winning former poet laureate who has been writing professionally for over a decade. The reading will take place at the Katonah Village Library.

“I am excited to bring D. Nurkse here,” said poetry advisor Leisha Douglas. “It is an amazing compilation of poetry of place, meaning Brooklyn. That is a particular genre that not a lot of poets are particularly good at — writing poetry about a place that draws people in.”

According to Ms. Douglas, Mr. Nurkse’s best writing asset is his ability to weave in details about a locale with the emotions of a relationship. In his poem, “A Night in Brooklyn,” she said, he intertwines many Brooklyn characteristics into a poem about a newborn baby and the effects that a child will have on a marriage.

“He does all that in 19 lines — it is quite a big feat,” said Ms. Douglas. “I thought he was a good candidate for reading at the series. I am excited and want to share my excitement with the community.”

At the poetry reading, Frances Richey, who wrote “The Warrior: A Mother’s Story of a Son at War,” will introduce Mr. Nurkse. The two poets are long-time friends and are familiar with each other’s work. While Ms. Richey will not be reading her own poetry, Ms. Douglas called the event a “two-in-one deal” for attendees, as they will have the opportunity to chat with both poets.

The Katonah Poetry Series was founded in 1967, and has played host to many celebrated writers, including Adrienne Rich, Marie Howe, Charles Wright, Alexander Neubauer, May Swenson, Mark Strand and William Jay Smith. In relation to its size and small venue, the series has had a lot of major poets, said Rebecca Rogan, the series’ president.

In December, the Katonah Poetry Series will host Carol Ann Davis, an English teacher whose first book of poetry was published in 2007. The next reading will take place in March with Michael Dickman, who was featured in the New Yorker in 2009 and is “one of the poets to watch,” according to Ms. Douglas. April will bring Katha Pollitt, a columnist for The Nation, whose recent collection is entitled “The Mind-Body Problem.”

Last May, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Kay Ryan read on Mother’s Day. At the time, Ms. Rogan and her colleagues were concerned that the turnout would be small as families would want to spend the holiday together. However, attendees arrived an hour early, and by the time Ms. Ryan began her reading, the room was full.

“It was just incredibly exciting,” said Ms. Rogan, a North Salem resident. “It was a great way to end our last season. We had people from Connecticut, all over Westchester and New York City. It was very exciting. The feedback was phenomenal. People are thrilled to see a poet like Kay Ryan in a venue like Katonah. It is great to have the events in Westchester so we don’t always have to go to the city to see big-name poets. There have been lots of engagement and support.”

From her years with the Katonah Poetry Series, Ms. Rogan believes that there are many poets in the tri-state area that do not share their passion for writing.

“A lot of people write poetry,” said Ms. Rogan. “A lot of people write privately because it is a private occupation. People write quietly, often when they are feeling emotional about something. Like when they have some sort of deep feelings. People don’t always say they write poetry, because it is a private thing. I think there are many more people out there writing poetry than we know.”

One of the many benefits of the Katonah Poetry Series, said Ms. Rogan, is that those casual poetry writers are able to mingle with others who enjoy penning stanzas and listening to professional poets.

The Katonah Poetry Series is held at the Katonah Village Library, located at 26 Bedford Road. The reading begins at 4 p.m. For more information, email or visit

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.


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November 9, 2012

‘Pops, Patriots and Fireworks’

Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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