Bards to recite Coney-inspired poems on the Wonder Wheel

Bards to recite Coney-inspired poems on the Wonder Wheel
Photo by Steve Solomonson

What an a-muse-ment park!

Local bards will take their verse to new heights by reciting Coney Island-inspired poetry to thrillseekers on the Wonder Wheel at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park on May 8.

“Poem-a-Rama: Poetry on the Wonder Wheel” features more than a dozen poets who will read poems at the very place that has inspired many troubadours over the years, according to the curator of the event.

“What better place than Coney Island to have site-specific poetry?” said Amanda Deutch of Parachute Literary Arts, which is hosting the event to raise money for poetry workshops and community poetry libraries in Coney Island. “Many, many poets have been inspired by Coney Island.”

Poets and participants will together ride in the stationary cars of the Wonder Wheel for soaring sessions that last seven minutes apiece. The cars provide an intimate setting that will break barriers between the sharers and the spectators, said Deutch.

“The boundaries between audience and performer aren’t so defined,” she said, adding that the cozy quarters will help put the audience at ease. “Often, people are intimidated by poets and they don’t need to be.”

Poets include Coney Island local Michael Broder, plus Matthea Harvey, Penny Arcade, Amber Atiya, Brenda Coultas, Ian Dreiblatt, Jen Fitzgerald, Amy King, and others, including Tim Cusack, who will come dressed as Walt Whitman to pay tribute to the poet who loved the nautical neighborhood, according to Deutch.

“Walt Whitman actually said Coney Island was one of his favorite places,” she said.

If participants feel inspired after their wild ride, Deutsch said they can try their own hand at some Coney-inspired rhymes.

“There will be a table with vintage typewriter where you can make your own poems about Coney Island,” she said.

“Poem-a-Rama: Poetry on the Wonder Wheel” at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park (3059 Denos Vourderis Place, entrance on W. 12th Street in Coney Island, www.parachuteliteraryarts.brownpapertickets.com). May 8 at 7 pm. $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at vogle@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her attwitter.com/oglevanessa.