In the beginning John Roche and I were talking about how the year 2010 was one that produced a number of gatherings of poets clustered around the centennial of Charles Olson's birth. 2010 was also the year of the publication of A Curriculum of the Soul book by Albert Glover. He and Jack Clarke started the project in 1972 with fascicles by Olson influenced poets. After 2010, the next year 2011 seemed devoid of the focus energy and shared collaboration of the year before.
At our August 2011 meeting, John Roche and I decided we would work together and organize something for 2012. We shared a throw of the I Ching with our question being "How do we proceed?" The hexagram that occurred was #43 Kuai / Break-through ( Resoluteness). This hexagram is linked with the third month [April-May]. A first guide to the nature of Cloudburst Council is the commentary in the I Ching. “Cloudburst” is mentioned here as the release point or break-through after a long accumulation of tension. Later that night we threw out names for a list of poets who could be invited to a Spring 2012 event.
Shortly after the discussion with John Roche, I was musing the language of our embryonic event with Albert Glover. Do you call it a conference, a symposium, a gathering? Glover mentioned Charles Olson liked the term council. Council as a name had possibilities. There was the council fire, council house, council flats of the native peoples. “Council” from Latin, concilium, com- + calare to call.
In September, I made a trip to western New York State to visit some friends among poets. It wasn’t the only thing on my mind but part of the energy behind the visits was to see to the possibility of advancing the council. Ken Warren and Steve Lewandowski agreed to help and thanks to the variability of Finger Lakes weather I got to experience the cloudburst phenomena first hand (more than once) The power and force inside the burst sky opening rain with high winds and overflowing drainage was a inspirational situational sensation and reinforced that our still sketchy but developing gathering was worth pursuing.
The particulars, including the most important one of finding a place to hold the event, started to fall into place by way of e-mail and personal exchange. In January 2012, Ken Warren, John Roche, Steve Lewandowski and myself were able to meet in Rochester, New York. and make some more decisions about logistics, program and invitation list.
THE SITE AND OTHER ESSENTIALS
CLOUDBURST COUNCIL is being held May 11, 12, 13, 2012 (Friday afternoon to Sunday mid-afternoon). It is being held at Writers and Books Gell Center of the Finger Lakes (www.wab.org.gell//) Sponsoring entities are Rootdrinker Institute and House Organ.
This will be a gathering of friends, to relax and enjoy each other’s company. We can share news, ideas, stories and the wooded landscape. We hope to have an overall program designed to allow us to step into and out of the world of poetry and have fun just by coming together at one particular time and place.
Celebration being the most political of acts.
There will be a spectacular program of poetry, panel discussions and special events. The final shape and refinement in the capable hands of Kenneth Warren with mine, John Roche and Steven Lewandowski’s meddling influence. Our meeting in Rochester was such fun and at that time we accomplished a skeletal body for the program. I of course am using the Cloudburst energy form to describe our progress in organizing. We have gone from a few wispy clouds in a blue sky day to the gathering of a few cumulous puffs and the beginning of darker spots in larger gathering cloudbanks. As we determine who is going to attend CLOUDBURST COUNCIL we will know better the Program.