A lazy, sunless Sunday afternoon created the perfect atmosphere for language lovers to gather at the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library in Shrewsbury to entertain their ears with the flowing word of poets Laury A. Egan and Jaee Sathe Pathak.
Jaee Sathe Pathak is a writer, artist and photographer from Highlands, NJ. She was born and raised in India, a country which she owes her childhood memories too. She pays homage to the influence and inspiration of her mother and grandfather in her new book of poems, titled Reflections.
The book also reflects her passion and love for horseback riding, painting and traveling. Pathak wrote and published the book in the year she turned forty, which she said was a very reflective and crucial year in her life.
The first poem she read, “Beauty,” was a heartfelt tribute to her mother, a woman who played an essential role in Pathak’s inspiration.
“My mother could see the positive side of anything," Pathak said, smiling. “I remember she’d be so excited to see things as simple as the sky being a perfect color pink, or a flower with perfectly symmetrical petals.”
In her reading of “First Lesson,” Pathak paid tribute to her grandfather; a man she believes was the biggest influence on her artistic life.
“I believe it was because of watching my grandfather painting at such an early age that I developed such a love of art,” Pathak commented.
Pathak also read from a poem titled “Altos de Chavon,” a poem that beautifully transported the listeners to the secret landscapes of the Dominican Republic.
The words created a visual and emotional picture in the mind that left a lasting impression. The last line, “My heart says, I am coming back/not in this lifetime, but perhaps in another/back to Altos de Chavon,” left the audience deeply connected to both Pathak and Altos de Chavon.
Laury A. Egan is a writer and photographer from Highlands, NJ. Egan writes descriptive, lyrical poetry inspired by the natural world. Egan read from two books of poems, Snow, Shadows, a Stranger, and her most recent, Beneath the Lion’s Paw.
The words flow in an elegant, lyrical stream, and Egan transports the audience to moments of time and place that meant something to her. In “Weeping Cherries,” listeners easily get lost amongst the pink blooms and calls of nature.
In “Fog,” Egan paints a dramatic picture of a simple, everyday occurrence that most people wouldn’t give a second thought to. It is impossible to do that after reading Egan’s poem, however.
Egan switches from the visual to the philosophical when reading “Either & Or,” a poem about space seen and unseen. The line “Hold the solid/and the invisible/with equal care,” is a combination of a visual and philosophical treat for the mind.
After reading, Pathak and Egan took time to answer questions from the audience. They discussed their inspirations, their methods for creating poetry and what makes for a good, engaging poem. Both agreed that feeling is what makes a poem the most appealing to a reader.
Pathak and Egan noted the difficulties that face a new poet in getting published and offered some advice on how poets could sharpen their craft. Pathak suggested trying self publishing, which she used to publish Reflections. Egan urged people to step away from their work for awhile and then return with a fresh eye.
“Put your work in a draw for awhile, don’t think about it, and then come back to it,” she said.
Laury and Jaee will be appearing together again on Saturday, May 14 at 12 noon at the Sea Bright Library for a reading of their poetry and book signing. To learn more about them or to purchase a book, please visit their websites: http://jaeepathak.redbubble.com/ and http://lauryaegan.com/