Sunday, October 5, 2008

Memorial Garden: For Peter Vicinanza

Peter Vicinanza, a wonderful wry wit, a character in the very best sense of the word, also a writer and a supportive, intelligent and articulate reader of writing and poetry, and died a year ago, on Oct. 4, 2007.

He was remembered by many on Saturday evening at the one year anniversary of his death - at what I have to call the Magic Garden House. Now the backyard of this home already had many stately and venerable vines - plants that have a real presence and entangle arbors, archways and decks in a beautiful way, that were tended and preserved by the home's previous owner. But now --the font yard also holds amazement.

Peter's widow Faith, (poet Faith Vicinanza, of Mother Tongue, Shijin and Hanover Press) in her grief, threw herself into gardening and building garden paths. In the modest sized front yard of this suburban house- there are organically twisting walkways that double back on themselves creating intricate shapes in the process.

These paths enclose planting beds now filled with an amazing array of foliage, figures, garden decorations, oddly shaped rocks and paving stones. The yard is a living work of art, born from a wife's grief, expanded by contributions of plants and ornaments by friends.
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On Saturday sixty or seventy people arrived, admired, talked, ate, remembered. Some of these performed a little ceremony of remembrance, not as a group but one by one. Faith had asked us each to write something to or for Peter, then to burn it in a metal container in the garden. "It's a very pagan ritual" she said and Peter who was an atheist would likely have appreciated it.
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When everyone had left, Angel, Faith's grandson brought out his note for Grandpa. And the flames flickered and danced on Angel's note sending little shivers of sparks rising up into the night.
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Peter we miss you.  Peter's Host entry on the WNPS Wedpoetry website:
The late Peter Vicinanza, who died Oct. 4, 2007, was a major sardonic wit who didn't believe in soft-pedaling reality. Peter often worked as a consultant, was an entrepreneur, a Vice-President of Information Technology at various corporations and a victim of multiple buyouts and take-overs with subsequent down-sizings. Around 1996 he took over hosting duties for a year to give his wife (WNPS founder Faith Vicinanza) a rest for a while when the series was still at Doctor Java's Caffeine Emporium in Bethel and she was its only host. Later, he was a willing participant in a 2,000 mile bicycling trek, an UtterFolly blogger, a poet & prose writer of memoir - particularly his days growing up in old New York. Peter's work has been in The Connecticut Review and in Bent Pin Quarterly. He was an honorary member of the Shijin-SubQ and we miss him still.