Spoonful: A Gathering of Stone Soup Poets

An extension of Cambridge's Stone Soup Poetry Venue.

Introduction by Chad Parenteau

Felipe Victor Rodriguez salutes Jack Powers on his
70th birthday. Photo by Bill Perrault

The timing was something I cursed and later appreciated.

I’d planned to release issue #0 of Spoonful a year ago. I was able to successfully acquire and compile a good number of not only samples of poetry submitted and/or overhead during various open mikes, but also tributes to Stone Soup’s founder, Jack Powers. The learning process of choosing poems, pairing off artwork, and web design (a challenge for me, even with the training wheels that Blogger provides) took much longer than I’d expected. The projected Winter 2006 debut issue was moved to the end of summer, 2007.

Sometime after I released the issue, I realized that a celebration of Jack Powers' life was just around the corner, with his turning 70. Now I had the task of creating a tribute issue immediately following an issue that was essentially already, well, a tribute issue. A bit of an awkward procession, but I never thought for a second that I could skip a tribute during such an important time.

Still, it at least gave me direction, and I’d be a liar if I said I had a definite plan beyond Issue #0.

With this issue coming out during the autumn season, I started thinking about the autumn years of Jack, who is still writing and creating visual art. How many Stone Soup alumni were in similar positions that deserved similar tribute? Bill Barnum, of course, who still makes the open mikes at Out of The Blue and elsewhere every chance he has. And what about John Wieners, who had the anniversary of his death marked and his life celebrated at Stone Soup this past May? Then there are those who never made it to the autumn of their life (Simon Schattner, we miss you).

Of course, some of the poets writing the tributes as seen here were around from the start and deserve tributes of their own. It overwhelms and excites this editor to understand the wealth of Stone Soup's history and its contributors with a majority of the poets in this issue addressing life experiences and how they influence, for good or ill.

Thanks to editorial fiat, I've thrown my family in the equation with an individual contribution marking my father's continuing bout with cancer as he enters his own autumn years (though he's still so active, they might as well be called Indian Summer years, to use an old phrase being lent today to the very warm Fall we're having now). I dedicate this issue in part to him and my grandfather, who begins his own bout with the same illness.

Time for you to explore the work. To (mis)use a phrase I've heard before, a lot of living went into what you'll be reading in this issue.