It was a wonderful evening that, as Nemo put it, focused on the right thing, the work itself. Bob's book Lightly in the Good of Day collects poems written over the course of a decade. They are about family and friends--real and imaginary--nature, art and the trying conditions of existence. The turnout at Cornelia Street Cafe was strong. There was only standing room when the open-mic began. Valerie Mendelson, the painter of the landscape that appears on the book cover, came with her husband, JF.
For the feature, the readers, Jane Ormerod, Adriana Scorpino, R. Nemo Hill, and Thomas Fucaloro, chose poems from the book that matched perfectly their very different reading styles. Jane read "In That Petal Flesh," Adriana read "Going Inside--Especially To Feel," Nemo read "Man, Can They," "Inside Your Expensive Watch"and "After Such Fall", and Thomas read "Take This Rose." The No Chance Ensemble, consisting of vocalists Bruce and Joanne Weber, and Nelson Alexander on guitar, put to music "Such Children" and "Bears and the Native Have Borne It Too Long." The result was to bring out the different voices in Bob's poetry, ecstatic, tentative, joyous, satirical, romantic, dry, and affirmative.
Bob himself read four poems including "Suddenly Lacking" and "The Flight Plan." He left the audience wanting more, and when Kathi Georges the host called for an encore he obliged with one of the finest poems of the collection, "Watery Within the Graveled World."On stage he was the picture of "gray elegance," as he describes himself in one poem. The atmosphere was warmly celebratory throughout the reading. A stranger sitting in would have gone away with a deep impression of how much Bob is loved.