On Sunday, February 10, The Gallery at Flat Rock hosts a show celebrating a little known, but much speculated upon meeting in Flat Rock between poet Carl Sandburg and troubadour Bob Dylan. The Gathering Dark, a Hendersonville duo made up of Josh Dunkin and Steven DuRose, will perform Dylan’s songs and Sandburg’s poetry from American Songbag from 4–6 p.m. “The show will weave poetry with music as we transport audiences back to that day in 1964 when two of America’s literary giants sat together on the porch of Connemara and the world was never quite the same after,” Dunkin says.
At the time of the meeting, Dylan was 23 years old and had just released his second album, The Times They Are A-Changin’. Sandburg was 86 and had won Pulitzer Prizes for poetry and biography and a Grammy in 1959 for the album Carl Sandburg Reading His Poetry. Dylan, reportedly, dropped in unannounced on Sandburg, introducing himself as a poet and bringing his new album. The meeting was never widely discussed by either man afterward.
Dunkin and DuRose used two articles—one from Rolling Stone (1972) and a more recent article by Thomas Crowe from Smoky Mountain News to sow their imagination as to what might have occurred. “We believe that this inconsequential meeting between Dylan and Sandburg sparked a chain reaction that altered the artistic trajectory of both men,” says Dunkin.
The Gathering Dark plays regularly at Sanctuary Brewing in Hendersonville, alternating an open mic night with theme nights dedicated to legendary performers such as Dylan, Elvis and Paul Simon as well as to groups of musicians such as North Carolina songwriters.
Painter Marsha Hammel, internationally known for her modernist-inspired oil paintings of musicians, had the idea for Bob Dylan at Connemara, which will be the first of a series of artist-hosted events at The Gallery at Flat Rock. “The juxtaposition of artists from different fields can create a new dynamic, often an entirely new art form,” Hammel says. “As guest host of this event, I hope to illustrate this idea of young artists building upon the foundations of elder artists.”
Tickets for Bob Dylan at Connemara are $15 and are available for purchase through the gallery. Refreshments will be served. The Gallery at Flat Rock is located at Flat Rock Square at 2702-A Greenville Highway, Flat Rock. Winter gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; or by appointment. To learn more, visit GalleryFlatRock.com or call 828.698.7000.