Blairstown Poet Tackles Television before Exploring the Open Road

June 30, 2009 at 12:00 am 1 comment

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Photo courtesy of Morton Rich

New Jersey poet Susanna Rich roused an array of emotions in her one-woman audience interactive show, Television Daddy, at Ridgewood Library on June 4, 2009.

Ranging from hilarious to heart-wrenching, the poetry from her chapbook is inventive and meticulous – the performance, even more so. Stills from classic television shows, sound clips, and even a hiphop backbeat accompanied Rich in her poetic production. She had viewers “Snap! Snap!” like Morticia in The Thing – a poem that features the ultimate clan of eccentrics, The Addams Family. She also sings snippets of Beatles songs in Imagine – where a young girl fantasizes about meeting the Fab Four.

A multiple-attendee who has seen the show on a few occasions, I can suggest that the show never stops affecting you – every performance is like seeing it for the first time. Susanna Rich leaves an imprint on her viewers – attaching tangible, lasting emotions and memories of the poems to the songs and media she implements.

Still revved after a rest stop in Ridgewood, Rich slides behind the wheel for The Drive Home.

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Photo courtesy of Morton Rich

It was described by poet BJ Ward as “…opening the front door to a house party. Patti Smith is blasting on the stereo and William Carlos Williams is in the kitchen discussing how fast cars should go with Sharon Olds”. Diane Lockward also stated, “Whether in a Prius, Pontiac, Chevy, or Ford, Susanna Rich skillfully navigates the ‘hard road of life’ … In carefully honed lines and stanzas, she combines humor with utter seriousness and blasphemy with reverance for all things human.”

With multi-faceted themes of cars and driving, Rich once again captures and embraces human experience with raw emotion and honesty. Poet Charlotte Mandel commented, “She [Rich] is fearless in her willingness to engage themes beyond surface comfort – a terrorist’s hands, a daughter’s rebellion, societal cruelties – and the redemption of love.”

In Rich’s own words, “In the tradition of On the Road, My Mother the Car, and Thelma and Louise, The Drive Home puts us in the driver’s seat.  Poem after poem makes the car a faithful companion and symbol for the journey of finding what’s most genuine in life—love, belonging, and laughs along the way. This book is about family, freedom, power, and the poignancy of never being quite at home. ”

The Drive Home is available for presale through Finishing Line Press (http://www.finishinglinepress.com/) – it is well worth reading, whether you’re a poetry connoisseur or just looking to explore the genre – Susanna Rich is a poet that makes her writing accessible to nearly anyone and inspires others to take risks in their own work.

Reviews featured on the chapbook – courtesy of Susanna Rich

Photos courtesy of Morton Rich

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Entry filed under: Entertainment, Fine & Performing Arts, Literature, Poetry, Reviews. Tags: , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Colette  |  September 14, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Awesome review!!

    Reply

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