Alumni Poetry Reading


Synergy founder Russ Messing and former Synergy teacher Jim Halligan are old friends, and as they took turns reading their poetry to a room full of Synergy alums, they engaged in some gentle sparring. Jim read a couple of poems about birds, and Russ countered with a poem of his own called “Happy Flock,” about the passions of birders: I don’t understand birders, how they coo and crow at the sighting of their thirteenth warbler finch, their umpteenth blue-footed booby, yet another flightless cormorant…

Birds weren’t the only theme, of course – one of Jim’s poems described adventures on a hitchhiking trip across country, another focused on the shootings at Virginia Tech. Russ’s poems explored a range of topics—from a photo of Georgia O’Keefe, to a visit to the family gravesite. The alumni gathering was an Alumni Committee event organized by Synergy co-founders Katherine Czesak and Jill Goffstein Stocks along with Pat Tokangua, former Synergy teacher. There were several generations of former Synergy students there, as well as alumni parents and teachers, including Tammy Damon and Elena Dillon, who hosted the event.

If you’re interested in reading these poets’ work, you can find Russ’s book, A Convergence of Unanticipated Consequences on Amazon.
Jim doesn’t have a collection published–at least not yet–but he has collaborated on several children’s books including Diabolic Downloads (Forbidden Files), Fowl Play, Round the Bend, Fowl Deeds (nominated for a Bistro Award) and Seeing Red.

A final word from Russ’s poem, “Some Last Things:”

A few last things to know: I love you. Forget about the hurts, I’ll take them off your hands. The keys are in the freezer.

— by Connie Matthiessen

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