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New poems make a splash

Poet shares her work poolside at Y

  • Recorder/Chris Curtis<br/>Greenfield poet Mary Clare Powell swims a lap in the YMCA pool on Sunday in Greenfield. before readiing from her latest collection of poems, inspired by her early morning swims.

    Recorder/Chris Curtis
    Greenfield poet Mary Clare Powell swims a lap in the YMCA pool on Sunday in Greenfield. before readiing from her latest collection of poems, inspired by her early morning swims.

  • Recorder/Chris Curtis<br/>Greenfield poet Mary Clare Powell brought poetry to the YMCA pool on Sunday.

    Recorder/Chris Curtis
    Greenfield poet Mary Clare Powell brought poetry to the YMCA pool on Sunday.

  • Recorder/Chris Curtis<br/>Greenfield poet Mary Clare Powell swims a lap in the YMCA pool on Sunday in Greenfield. before readiing from her latest collection of poems, inspired by her early morning swims.
  • Recorder/Chris Curtis<br/>Greenfield poet Mary Clare Powell brought poetry to the YMCA pool on Sunday.

GREENFIELD — “The pool is a living environment and it is full of people here for all sorts of reasons,” Mary Clare Powell told an audience gathered around the YMCA pool for a poetry reading, not among the usual reasons.

Powell swam a lap before reading from her new collection of poems, “Box of Water,” set and composed in and around the Greenfield pool and starring the early-morning light on the water and an unanticipated sense of the spiritual.

“Embarrassing that God should show up in a smallish, old-fashioned pool with puddles in the parking lot,” Powell read from one of her poems.

Powell said she was surprised to find herself thinking of God at the pool, but decided the word was the appropriate descriptor for what she felt, as a metaphor for the mysterious, paradoxical and sought-after.

Between 40 and 50 people gathered in the chlorine-infused humidity of the pool room for Powell’s reading of poems describing the sights, sounds, thoughts and people of her exercise routine.

“I thought it was perfect,” said Barbara Fritz of Greenfield, holding a box of Powell’s poems following the reading. “Now I’m anxious to get home and read them myself so I can digest them.”

Among those who gathered afterwards for refreshments and discussion, Becca King of Greenfield and Amy Pulley of Cumminton praised Powell’s ability to find wonder in the ordinary.

“Mary Clare is always interested in pushing an edge that brings her to wonder,” King said.

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