Poets Plow Ahead

Outside, Nemo’s calling cards were piled high, tow trucks prowled with their winches and hooks at the ready, and the night sky over New Haven threatened three more inches of snow.

Inside a “stress free zone” on Court Street, Katie Yates took her seat on a shiny pine floor and read aloud about “the long intimacies of winter.”

While this past week’s historic blizzard has continued to wipe out many cultural events, the newest poetry reading series in town plowed ahead.

A dozen people showed up Wednesday night to The Infinite Well at 123 Court St.  to hear local writer Yates and colleague Robert Masterson read their work.

Take that, Nemo!

AllanAppel PhotoSure. Masterson and the event’s host Boaz ItsHaky, the owner of The Infinite Well, an acupuncture office by day, dashed outside once or twice to see if the flatbed tow truck were targeting them. But that all seemed like a metaphor in action.

It was as if to suggest John Donne and echoes of his “No Man Is An Island” had dropped by to help the poets defy Nemo with their stanzas: Don’t ask for whom the tow truck comes; it comes for thee.

Masterson positioned himself by The Infinite Well’s street-side window where he could both photograph Yates, whom he met when both were graduate students at the Jack Kerouac School for Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, and also keep an eye on approaching tow trucks.

Click on the play arrow to the video at the top of the story to watch Yates recite “The Room Before Winter” at Wednesday evening’s gathering.

Yates always thought she’d live the life of a wandering bard in the mountains of the west, she said. Instead she fell in love and lives in an actual house in Woodbridge.

That created some conflict, and she sought relief from this dissonance. Or, as she put it whimsically before she read, “I was here for acupuncture treatment for being a housewife.”

By here she meant Boaz ItzHaky’s acupuncture, massage, and oriental medicine enclave, which was originally on Orange Street. Yates decided the office’s burnt umber walls and shiny pine floor would it make an ideal place for a poetry reading series.

“I wanted to start a series to hear friends read. It’s good for poetry. You could bring a work in progress,” she said. 

“Poets tend to be shy, but they like to talk,” she said.

Thus the reading series was born late last year at 123 Court Street, when ItsHaky moved his acupuncture and oriental medicine practice from the space he originally shared with Breathing Well Yoga studio on Chapel to the Court Street location

The Infinite Well is one of nearly a dozen yoga and other lifestyle businesses that are clustering in the Ninth Square.

With a calm demeanor and “stress free zone” printed on his store window, ItsHaky said he welcomes a fusion of the spoken word and other fine arts with the healing arts.

“For me it’s the fusion of healing arts and the other arts. There’s a lot of healing that can be done through poetry,” because all the arts open the mind, he said.

Some of ItsHaky’s clients pay him in art. ItsHaky realized many of clients, lying on the massage or acupunture tables, will be looking up. “I asked for a ceiling tile,” he said.

And a client provided.

As Yates introduced herself and began to read both new work and selections her book Poem for the House, ItsHaky said, “once a month I turn the place over to Katie and her friends.”

Then he settled onto an embroidered pillow, leaned against his wall, and listened.

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