Sunday, February 26, 2012

A reading for Gil Ott
3:00-4:30 PM

Painted Bride Art Center

230 Vine Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

Not quite five years ago, I wrote

More than any other individual, Gil Ott is the person responsible for the strength of the poetry community in Philadelphia over the past 30 years. His skills as a poet & prose writer, as an editor, publisher & arts administrator, and as a community organizer, proved to be a unique combination. A small “d” democrat, Gil led by example, usually denying that he was doing anything other than just being himself.

All still true. Gil also used to do these great little prints, such as the one above, that turned into holiday greetings – I still have one set of four images at the head of the stairs down to my study. I look at it just about every day.

Gil was the founding editor of the literary journal Paper Air as well as the original publisher of Singing Horse Press. Gil influenced many poets in Philadelphia, across America, and in the English-speaking world, me included. From 1981 to 1995, he worked at the Painted Bride Arts Center, first conducting a capital campaign and assisting its founder Gerry Givnish, and later creating an extensive network of community-based arts and educational collaborations. From the mid 90’s until his death in 2004, he served as the Director of Development for Liberty Resources, Philadelphia’s Center for Independent Living, which advocates for the rights of people with disabilities.

Gerry Givnish will introduce. Julia Blumenreich, Gil’s widow, will read her suite of poems that sparked Wendy Osterweil to make Reforesting: An Homage to Gil Ott, an exhibition currently on display in the gallery. Poets will then read from Gil’s forthcoming Collected Poems. Readers include Julia, CA Conrad, Eli Goldblatt, Jena Osman, Bob Perelman, Tim Peterson, Ron Silliman, Brian Teare, & Heather Thomas.

Gil reading “Stingere