I had the opportunity on numerous occasions to perform with Robert “Bob” Rentschler pictured above (and his wife because she was always his constant companion). Even though he passed away recently, his energy will be felt for millenniums. Yes, he lived his life abundantly. He is shown here in a photo from his book “4 Against The Wall”.
I believe that 2012 has been the best summer that I can remember. I have recently started to do things that I used to love to do again, like reciting poetry.
I stopped really enjoying writing in 2007 after the death of Robert Busby, an inspiration and a father figure to me. Also the attitude of some of the poets that I worked with at the time really gave me a sense that poetry was not making me happy any longer.
I loved going to the Old Town Poetry events though at the Creole Gallery located at 1218 Turner Street. Robert was the owner. Even after his death, I continued to support poetry events but for some reason I could not write.
I just wrote my first two poems in five years. Three days beforehand I received this:
Dear Members of the Old Town Poetry & Arts Community,
Our greatly beloved, irrepressible, brilliant and outrageously funny poet, Bob Rentschler, passed away this morning (September 1) at 5:20 am, surrounded by family.
Bob has been a "major force" within the Lansing area poetry community since the late 80s, developing into one of the finest performers around. Known as "Fearless Bob," he could do things no one else would imagine, much less tackle—dress up as an old lady and sing love songs to young people in the audience, for example—or just read a poem with so much energy, presence and sheer pizzazz that it immediately slipped into the hearts of everyone in the audience.
Bob was the poet that no one really wanted to read after because he was just so damn good. And yet, his energy and skill was contagious, making us all better readers and more fearless when standing in front of a crowd.
A truly kind man, he was ever generous with other poets and artists, appreciative of the courage that it takes to write and to perform one's work before others and believing that society is healthier when we can hear one another's voices.
Above all, he was a great friend.
While it is hard to imagine the Old Town Poetry Series without him, he would be the first to say, "Be strong. Be open. Be happy. Be playful. And 'sing your song' with all your heart."
The Old Town Poets will develop an evening entitled "Poems for Bob," which will include an open mike segment in case you would like to participate.
Ruelaine Stokes, Coordinator
Old Town Poetry Series
In the last edition I wrote, “Be present and live life abundantly and always sing with passion.” Bob would agree with me and I cannot wait to host “Listen Up Poetry” at the Creole Gallery from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on September 15th. This one is for you Bob. You are indeed an inspiration and I am inspired.
This was printed in the September 9, 2012 - September 22, 2012 Edition