Poetry. U.S. Regional Studies. For half a century or so, few if any American cities of comparable size have matched Buffalo in the wealth and diversity of its poetic activity, evident in the unusually large number of local literary venues, including writing workshops, book fairs, little magazines, and poetry reading series, to say nothing of the literature and creative writing programs of area colleges and universities. During any given week, a visitor to the city could conceivably drop in at half a dozen poetry readings in as many different series and be edified by an impressive range of writers: rhymesters contentedly browsing on the lower pastures of Parnassus, shy presenters of budding talent, defiant or timid asserters of weird sensibilities, brash hipsters, in-your-face experimentalists, ecstatic devotees of Nature, Beauty and Love, champions-in-verse for freedom and social justice-and, more often than not, writers of unquestioned authority (usually the "featured readers" before the customary open mic) who garner the hearty applause and command the deep respect of their audience. This book contains a generous selection of verse by four obvious masters in the Western New York literary community.