Spoonful: A Gathering of Stone Soup Poets

An extension of Cambridge's Stone Soup Poetry Venue.

Raffael De Gruttola

back side of the Hill

of lately on Beacon Hill visiting the Athanaeum
the thoughts of all the literary folks
who lived on these streets, came back to me
Robert Lowell in particular, the conscientious objector of
war and a Brahmin who defied the tag, and yet these are
the memories of another time another energy
the Saturday night magic evenings of Stephen Jonas on Anderson Street the
afternoon talks of poetry at the Harvard Gardens
with Joe Dunn, Steve, and John Wieners and the celebration
Jack organized in memory of Stephen Jonas at the Charles St Meeting
House on April 1st of 1973, where even Allen Ginsburg came to read
along with Carol Weston, Gerrit Lansing, John Wieners, Jason Hambro,
Roger Hurwitz, Dunn and de Gruttola ...
but thoughts drift as do memories

Jack came a bit later and settled down on Joy Street
where I knew him with a somewhat different kind of
magic, his love of people, poetry and what makes
community live. He bridged two different worlds
of the hidden Boston poetry scene, late 50s
and 60s, poets of Wiener's Measure Magazine many
who left for San Francisco with thoughts of love and
those who retuned and were befriended
Wieners, Dunn, who returned to the Hill to work their craft

Jack became the new catalyst for the resurgence and interest in
poets on the back side of the hill and with his initiation
the Stone Soup Poets came alive. A new kind of magic evenings
happened at the book shop and Gallery on Cambridge St., before
crossing the Longfellow Bridge to the hallowed halls of MIT, Harvard
and the like. Jack brought a new energy, sometimes crazy, sometimes
somber, but always electric to the streets and the young poets who
came each week to hang out and read
it was an Open Mike idea before its time

from there Jack moved the scene to Cambridge, the Green St. Pub
and T.T. The Bears where the historical tapings and music
of all kinds took place now on You Tube, in these smoked filled dives, with beer and jive where genders became one and the holy church
a sullen after thought, a place where the new hippies could undress
their disjointed lives and his escapades with the many women in his life,
save one

I remember his calls for action on so many causes which he
championed and which he addressed with a reformer's vigor
or the calls to read the poetry of our lives, our hungers, our passions and
our discontents at First Night spots, or to Lowell to champion Kerouac's legacy ...

where there was a cause, Jack was there and yet his loneliness which he
drowned in beers in lost loves of disconnections, and yet
always some concern for the less fortunate which later he became
out of the blue, Out of the Blue a place to hang his hat and continue a belief that
in each of us there's that poetic truth, unlike the academics,
which is street wise and forgotten, so yes to remember this
Black Irishman who sang his blues against all odds.

                                                      a darker path--
                                                      rings of smoke
                                                      around the room