The year was 1950.
The place was Brooklyn, New York.
There, on January 18th, around the day when Edgar Poe (or Edgar Allen Poe) was born, another poet was born, though in a different time, but he would make his own mark, all in his own way. That was when the poet I consider “The Godfather of the Hudson Valley Poetry Scene” was born, that person’s name is Mikhail Horowitz.
Known primarily as a prose poet, he’s been a modern day Jack of all trades, dabbling in performance and collages, all of which are handmade. His greatest work was his poetry book Big League Poets, in which he combined his two loves, poetry and baseball, and grafted Major Leaguers heads onto baseball’s bodies. (Satire or not, I think it makes a statement that one need not be great to be successful.
Since then, I should note, there have been many more, like Ancient Baseball (link: 8 Hudson Valley Books to Gift this Holiday Season | Books & Authors | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazineand his most recent work, Slapstick Gravitas (link: Slapstick Gravitas: Selected Spells, Centos, Lists and Other Poems – Station Hill Press
He also performs with his partner, Gilles Malkine, and does insightfully poignant, factiously funny and watered down classics in such places as the Woodstock Library, Rosendale Cafe, Union Arts in New Paltz and many other places lucky enough to get them, since they’re worth every penny (all 3 cents, lol.) In all seriousness, they are fantastic performers in by themselves or as a duo.
On a personal note, my friendship with Mik goes back several years, all the way back to my college years. Mik was (and still is) a well respected author and poet and he knew a lot of people in the community, especially my late mentor, Larry. He introduced us and he was one of many artists I got to know due to Larry’s influence. At the time, I felt so unworthy, Mik is a respected poet around here, I thought, I’m just a new kid on the block, a feeling that was amplified by Larry’s passing.
After I moved, I still felt that way about my skills as a poet, choosing to look at him as more of a celebrity than I was. Behind all that, however, was a very funny and appreciative person, whom really looked at me as an equal; a friend and it’s something that I don’t take for granted.
And it’s been that way ever since…both with him and his significant other, the fabulous Carol Zaloom, who looks at me as a adoptive son.
So, I realize that I’m kvelling when it comes to Mik, but all that is all genuine admiration and respect for someone I admire as a person and a poet. So, if he gets a chance to read this, I just want to wish Mik a very Happy Birthday, and thank you for being the person you are, helping us laugh and helping me…
Shine On!! Party like a Poet, my friend!!