May 18, 2007

Caffe Lena Open Mic, May 2

Another big night up in Saratoga Springs -- Carol Graser keeps bringing them in -- 21 open mic poets -- some of the regulars, some new voices -- & a great feature, Bernadette Mayer.

Bernadette read after about 5 open mic poets. Her readings are always well put together, even when she shuffles the poems about, & fun: humor, twists on established forms ("Howard Zinn Sonnet", "The Chocolate Poetry Sonnet", etc.), & the odd, like her n+7 exercises. And at the end of the night, after all the rest of the poets, an encore, "The Petty Blues" -- a rarity at poetry readings. We are glad to have Bernadette (& Phil) here in this area. Speaking of which, during the open mic, Phil Goode read a moving poem, "You Were A Friend of Mine" for the murdered journalist & activist, Brad Will.

Some of the newer voices that night were Dustin White doing his piece from memory, virgin Josh Morrell, Greg Wait, Yvette Brown, and a couple of high school students who must have been practicing their readings, Noah using some half-rhymes, & Nicholeaus (?) with anti-logical strung-together random images -- good stuff from both.

Other highlights included the quickly disappearing Pat Dyjak on owning men in "Tiffany Windows" (look for her in Poets in the Park in July); Shaun Baxter & his "Like the Undead they Crawl Out of Nooks & Crannies", but Goth poets are never around to hear it.

Mary Kathryn Jablonski was a featured poet some time ago at Caffe Lena & read from her series of poems with titles taken from the names of "lakes" & "seas" on the Moon. I was unmoved by them, they seemed too studied, uptight. But she read 2 poems this night that shivered: "To the Husband I Have Not Yet Met" & one I took to be "Mare Nubrium", but may have been "Mare Imbrium", in 2 voices & coming out of a dream. Nice work.

Cara Benson likes to present herself as a slam poet but her reading of "I Predict...", based on Joe Brainard's "I Remember..." was way too fast. I hope she wasn't nervous with that crowd. We do like to heckle, but only those we know & love.

I always like Carol's work & I liked the resonance of the titles of the 2 she read this night: "Rally these Bones" & "Behind the Egg".

First Wednesdays, 7:30 PM, historic Caffe Lena, 47 Phila St.

2 comments:

Mary Kathryn Jablonski said...

Dear Dan, Thanks so much for the compliment on my new poems. The older "Mare" poems aren't for everyone, as they can be a bit esoteric, but I've always found the night sky rich with metaphors. The poem I read at Lena's was indeed Mare Nubium, which is Latin for Sea of Clouds, one of the lava plains on the moon. I've been editing a lot last year's poems, simplifying them, for better or worse? This is a complete re-write of one of them;sometimes it's best to just move on! MKJ

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