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Kent Poet Recorded Original Works Before Death

Merle Mollenkopf's personal readings of his favorite poems are preserved on CD

Kent poet Merle Mollenkopf may be gone from this world, but his poetry is not.

With help from friend Harry Noden, Mollenkopf recorded about 40 of his favorite pieces and put about an hour of audio on two CDs before his death this week at 78 after a short battle with esophageal cancer.

"It was really a beautiful collection of a lot of his favorite poems," Noden said.

A retired English teacher, Noden recorded the readings with Mollenkopf about three years ago and put 28 poems on the first CD.

About three weeks ago he said Mollenkopf came to him knowing his death was nearing and sought to create a second disc.

"Initially we recorded far more than would fit on a CD," Noden said.

So they sorted through a few more and put a little more than a dozen on the second disc, Noden said.

The recordings are not available publicly at the moment. About 20 copies of the recordings are held by Mollenkopf's family.

Noden said he has no plans to make Mollenkopf's readings public and instead says that's the family's decision to make.

"I would think Merle would love to have his poetry out there and people listening to it," he said. "His poetry is incredibly powerful.

"I think Merle was indeed a master poet," Noden said. "Given the right opportunities, I think he would have become a major poet in the area."

Marilyn Sessions March 01, 2013 at 01:33 PM
What a neat guy; sorry to hear of his death.
Elliott Ingersoll March 01, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Great Harry - that is wonderful. Merle's death is such a loss - it would be great for others to be able to hear his voice
Carole Kane March 01, 2013 at 04:38 PM
I always enjoyed seeing Mr. Mollenkopf at Kent's annual "Art in the Park" and listening to his recitation of poems. Several years ago he graciously accepted an invitation to speak to my KSU communication classes and recite poetry. How wonderful that Mr. Noden made two CD audio recordings of Merle's poems for family members.
Mark Mollenkopf March 04, 2013 at 02:33 AM
The two CD's are great. Volume 1 has 28 different poems along with some great dialog between my Dad and Harry Noden. Volume 2, which was just assembled a couple weeks ago, has 20 tracks. These include "Nomad" and "As Time Churns On" which brought me to tears as I heard his voice once again. The text of these two poems are up on the Merle Mollenkopf facebook page that I just created. I will work with the folks that helped put the CD's together to figure out a good way to make them available to everyone. For sure, we will have copies at the Kent Stage when we have a Celebration of Life for Merle. Date TBD.
Elliott Ingersoll March 04, 2013 at 03:00 AM
Hi Harry - I really would love to be part of any celebration of Merle's life. I'd love to play or help with organizing - please let me know what I can do. ELLIOTT INGERSOLL

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