Veteran Poets Read New Work

At the Southampton Historical Museum’s Thomas Halsey Homestead
Carole Stone and the cover of her latest collection, due out on Aug. 25 from Dos Madres Press.

Don’t expect the fatuous “poet voice” — that mannered intonation of poetry read aloud, singsong, overstuffed with pregnant pauses, a favorite of the M.F.A. program, the slam, the coffeehouse — when writers of substance like Carole Stone and Virginia Walker take to the lectern, which they will starting at 6 tonight at the Southampton Historical Museum’s Thomas Halsey Homestead along tree-lined South Main Street in that village.

The reading is part of a series organized by Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan, the founder of the North Sea Poetry Scene and a past Long Island poet of the year, so designated by the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association in Huntington Station. Admission is a suggested $5, and an open mike follows. The next, and final, poetry happening will be on Sept. 20 at 6 p.m., in the form of an open workshop that will consider the works of Anne Bradstreet, Pablo Neruda, and Allen Ginsberg, among others. (Information on that score can be had by emailing tammynuzzomorgan@gmail.com.)

Free verse at the 17th-century domicile of an early English settler might seem incongruous, but pleasingly so, and less incongruous, at any rate, than what’s inside, a tribute to Shinnecock culture, artifacts, way of life — in the 1640s domicile of an early settler, a harbinger of a coming wave that would sweep away such things. 

The gathering, however, is en plein air, and tonight, Ms. Walker reported in an email, “I will be reading from recently published poems on everything from the darker edge of religious belief to dealing with mortality,” mixed with other, unpublished work. A Shelter Island resident and professor of English at Suffolk Community College, she co-wrote, with the late Michael Walsh, “Neuron Mirror,” a 2014 collection of poetry that with associated events and such has raised more than $10,600 for the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Her compatriot for the evening, Ms. Stone, a Springs part-timer and professor emerita of English at Montclair State University, has a number of collections to her credit, the latest being “All We Have Is Our Voice,” due out at the end of the month from Dos Madres Press. “All the poems are persona poems,” Ms. Stone said by email, “with figures (mostly women, but not all) married to famous men. Mrs. Lincoln, Frau Freud, Frida Kahlo, but also César Vallejo, Raymond Carver, etc.” Below is one of them.

“First Lady: Mary Todd Lincoln”

No longer choosing from dozens of pairs
of shoes, in bare feet, I pace
the long corridors. In a white pool
of attendants I clutch my worn lace collar.

I waltzed at White House balls, 
wore velvet gloves, bonnets
trimmed with grosgrain, taffeta gowns
that Robert sold at auction.

What shame for a son to commit his mother
to an asylum. My husband’s portrait
stares down from the superintendent’s wall.
But no daguerreotypes of his bearded face

are allowed in my small space.
Beneath the damp earth, he needs nothing,
not even his tall hat or the Bible
he read aloud as I dozed.

I will demand a pension from Congress.