Saturdays in Ten Pell with Lewis
For us Philly poets, The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s was Mecca. I had signed up for Lewis Warsh’s 10-week Saturday workshop and faithfully went, yet was feeling an increasing sense of loss as the workshop neared its end. All of us in the group were feeling this. We conferred. I spoke up. Lewis said if we wished, he could keep working with us on Saturdays, no particular termination point.
We met each week with joy, learning how to work as a group, listening, giving feedback, rewriting, always enlarging our perceptions of the amazing shapes and forms poetry can take. When Lewis said it’s time to publish, we started a press. It was Ten Pell, named after the restaurant and gathering place he had introduced us to. I learned poetry is not a hermetic activity and that getting the work into the world is a part of it. We all remember Lewis’ first assignment to us. Write your—medicine cabinet. And off we went, lickety-split!
Farewell and thank you, Lewis. Writer, Travel Guide. Nonpareil.
PHYLLIS WAT‘s four poetry books are Shadow Blue (Hot Water Review), The Fish Bowl Expedition (Ten Pell), and The Influence of Paintings Hung in Bedrooms and WU Going There (both United Artists). She was a poetry editor of 6ix (Philadelphia), The World (NYC), and Press 1 (online), and publisher of Straw Gate, 9 Books by 9 Poets, and Anthology (Press 1) of 42 Poets.