As a young boy, Dudley’s home was in Arlington, Massachusetts. Yet it was the people and places of New Hampshire that would reveal to Dudley the country dancing and music that would become his life’s work. Working at Mistwold Farm, in Fremont, and time spent in the Monadnock Region encouraged his development as a musician and dance caller. He started calling dances at age 18 while attending Norfolk County Agricultural High School in Walpole, Mass., and has never looked back. While enrolled at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture in Amherst, Mass., Dudley intended to become a dairy farmer. It was here that he developed an interest in poetry and discovered the works of Hemingway, Hardy, Thomas, Burns and Sara Teasdale. Dudley began with lyrical and prose poems and his first book of poetry, “I Hear Ringing Reels” was published in 1962. Never one to write poetry as an assignment, when a poem is ready, he sets it to paper. At age 87, Dudley is still fully engaged in a 65-year career as a dance caller for local country dances throughout New England. He plays his melodeon, harmonica and sometimes, when his fingers allow, his fiddle, at old town halls, farmer’s markets, folk festivals, weddings, barn dances, kitchen junkets and for the Canterbury Morris dance team. On occasion, he is hired by elementary schools to teach old-time dances for children, a personal favorite for Dudley.
An open mike will follow the featured reader. Participants are requested to limit themselves to one poem, no longer than two pages.