Friday, September 12, 2014

A Poet’s Influence: Poetry, The Himalayas, and New York City by Jen Pezzo

I met Yuyu on social network first. We have poetry in common and luckily, I discovered,  over the years,  both of us have rambled in the familiar Ohio poetry circles. However, I had the opportunity to meet him in person through Kathleen Gallagher. She suggested my venue, Akron Night Murmurs, as a great place to hold one of his poetry workshops. I was extremely delighted and flattered to promote and host such a poet!

“A Himalayan Poet in Akron Workshop” sounded magical, and it truly was. He opened the evening with his favorite Mantras, shared his experiences as a shaman in childhood, spoke about the Himalayas and New York, shared his poetry, and talked about his travels around the world. He was fun, encouraging, and inspiring to everyone who participated in the workshop.  In turn, we shared poetry, music, and vaudeville skits with him after the workshop. It was a great night of creative energy.

When I first met Yuyu, I had never been to New York. I shared with him that I was going to visit there for the first time ever on a redeye tour with some friends soon. His face lit up and that was that.  He could not believe I’d never been there.  When I finally got there, my friends and I were bonafide tourists for an entire day. We crammed as many sights as we could into our short visit. Yuyu made sure to see me before our bus took us back to Akron. He met me an hour before departure and teased me for hanging out in Times Square like a tourist.  I ran through the city streets behind him, barely able to keep up with his brisk walk as we looked for a place to have tea. We reveled at the fact we had just missed each other earlier that day at the Magnolia Bakery, one of his favorite places to go.  In fact earlier that day he was shooting in West Village for a video on his poem, “You Are a New Yorker” with his NYU Tisch student. We didn’t have much time before my bus left, but he made sure I was supplied with snacks for the trip home, a warm hug, and an invitation to one day see how real New Yorkers live.

Yuyu’s life is poetic. He has inspired me in ways beyond the written page, in how he treats those around him, and in his approach to travel and life. I especially admire the way he makes fellow poets feel like family and how he wants everyone to feel the same enthusiasm for all the things he finds fulfillment and joy in: Poetry, The Himalayas, and New York being the BIG three.  So it makes me happy to see how this particular poet’s influence resonates throughout the world and know it will continue to do so, long into the future.

Working as an editorial assistant on the staff of Yuyutsu Sharma’s Eternal Snow: An Anthology of Poems originating from Yuyu’s interactions, Readings and Workshops has been an honor and a pleasure. Being part of a team of inspired and creative people is where I feel most “at home”.

Most importantly, I am extremely thankful to learn from, work with and get to know Yuyu, Kathleen, Tracie Morell, and David Austell during this process and to be able to read some incredible work by poets from around the world.  Being part of this team has enriched my own artistic endeavor and has turned out to be a happy side effect from being around such incredible talent and passion for poetry.

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