Blessing the Boats and a statue where history was made at Edgerton Park

Blessing the Boats and a statue where history was made at Edgerton Park

Mayor Lovely Warren with The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton (published by BOA Editions) University of Rochester, 4/6/2012


Selected BOA Editions covers spanning 1977 – 2016 (from exhibit postcard)

In Displaying the life and thoughts of a humanist scientist, I said spending time at the University of Rochester means feasting on an ever replenished smorgasbord of historical, philosophical, literary and visual delights. Last night’s poetry readings at the Hawkins-Carlson Room was no exception.


Seated to the right, Joseph Henry Gilmore Professor of English James Longenbach who read Francis Ponge’s “Rain” (1982) Seated in front, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and University of Rochester President Joel Seligman. Speaking is Peter Connors, Publisher, Boa Editions, 4/6/16

The readings were part of the year long celebration of the 40th anniversary of Boa Editions, perhaps Rochester’s most distinguished press.

Digging into both the BOA archives and the Rush Rhees Rare Book collection, curators Travis Johansen and Phyllis Andrews have created a fascinating tapestry of 40 years of literary activity, embroidered with assorted artifacts, vintage photos, art work, as well as writer’s and reader’s statements on their own creative processes: BOA Edition: 40 Years of Connecting Writers with Readers. (A more in depth article on the exhibit in the Friedlander Lobby upcoming.)

As President Seligman noted in his opening remarks, for an independent press to thrive for four decades — especially in the internet era — is a fine accomplishment indeed.  On BOA’s longevity, Seligman gently quipped, come back in 40 years and we can really talk.

Kicking off the celebration were readings from a wide range of authors published by BOA over the decades: Francis Ponge’s 1982 “Rain” to Delmore Schwartz’s 1992 “Baudelaire” to William Heyen’s 1996 “Legend” (read by himself) to Lucille Clifton’s “won’t you celebrate with me” from Blessing the Boats (below) read by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.  As seen below, the list of readers and attendees spanned the fields of government, publishing, the arts, print and tv media — with some college professors and a president thrown in for good measure.

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Display case at the BOA Editions: 40 Years of Connecting Writers with Readers in the Friedlander Lobby, University of Rochester (left to right) Mary Ann Mavrinac, Vice Provost, myself, and Joel Seligman, President 4/6/16 (a little under dressed as had just learned of the event) [Photo: Katy Festa, Rush Rhees Library Advancement Program Manager

Listening to Mayor Warren read from Blessing the Boats was a pleasure. Lovely’s passion for poetry shone through, the same passion city school kids must experience when she visits and reads to them. And it was heartening to see President Seligman and Mayor Warren’s mutual engagement as one small part of what has been a successful town and gown collaboration.

lo vely

Mayor Warren speaking; President Seligman sitting

At the same time, I had my own mini-agenda when learning that Mayor Warren, who you met at an HBCU event at the Blue Cross Arena, was there.

The other day we reported on a campaign to create a U.S. commemorative stamp honoring Earl Lloyd. It was Lloyd who, on a chilly Halloween night in 1950, made history at the old Edgerton Park Arena as the first African-American player in the National Basketball League. As we reported, that night Lloyd, a visiting player with the Washington Capitols, was greeted with grace and respect by Rochester fans.


old Edgerton Park Arena

I think Rochester can do one better. Next to the basketball courts at Edgerton Park — site of the long gone arena — let’s erect a statue of Lloyd.  So a new generation of Rochester hoopsters and fans can learn about that famous-first moment in the history of our city.

Might Albert Paley be interested?  Maybe a figure of a Rochester Royal could be included. After all, we were home to an NBA championship team.


Cooling off at Edgerton Park during a heat wave

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With Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren [Photo: Jenna Fisher, Director of Marketing and Production at BOA Editions] (a little under dressed as had just learned of the event)

So last evening I planted the seed of the idea, briefly explaining the concept to Mayor Warren. She did not realize the event had taken place at Edgerton Park.  Lovely found the image in her mind’s eye of young basketball players on a hot summer’s night playing next to a statue of Lloyd intriguing.  And she’ll keep us posted.

Think about it. With all due respect to philatelists, a bronze statue beats a paper stamp.

BELOW: some Rochester basketball at Cobb’s Hill and more on University of Rochester libraries, art, museums and displays.


Program of Events, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, Hawkins-Carlson Room


Read by Mayor Warren, 4/6/16










Rochester especially should support an Earl Lloyd U.S. Postage Stamp

Rochester’s own street ball Rucker League

Back to normalcy at Cobb’s Hill basketball

“What would Dr. Lasagna do?” Abby Glogower displays the thoughts and life of a humanist scientist at the University of Rochester

Bringing back the mid 19th Century at the University of Rochester. Nanotechnology meets local history

“Ring out, Wild Bells”

From Daphne with love

A personal tour of the URMC during Meliora Weekend with Dr. Ruth Lawrence, URMS ’49. And still on the active faculty.

In search of Julie Andrews at the George Hoyt Whipple Museum

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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