May 15, 2007

Third Thursday Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center, April 19

In the great rush to get out the entries on the WordFest, I completely overlooked my own event, one of my best nights ever. Also, the chronological nature of the Blog puts my entries (if you read from the top of the page down) in reverse order of the events, as well as in reverse order of the way I wrote them. If you read them in order of the date of the event, rather than the date posted, you will be less confused, perhaps. Or better yet, stay confused, it's more fun.

The folks at AlbanyPoets had generously dubbed my Third Thursday reading & open mic the "unofficial start of WordFest". I like being unofficial. It was my biggest night since moving the the Social Justice Center, the room packed by students from Dan Nester's poetry performance class at St. Rose. I was a guest lecturer there a few months back & encouraged them to come to the open mic & read. In addition, the featured poet, Mimi Moriarty brought her friends & supporters (if your friends & relatives don't come to your performances, who will?). And we had a good representation of the usual local poets.

Now I'm going to have the same problem reporting on this event as I did hosting it: the handwriting on the signup sheet is not always clear, & I didn't always annotate the list when the readers corrected my mispronounciation of their names, so apologies are offered -- & corrections will be accepted & made -- for any misspellings, just leave a comment.

These folks were eager! I mean they were hanging out waiting for me to get there & so my first 12 readers were from the class -- a wonderful variety of voices, styles & personalities. They must've had fun in "Boom Boom"'s class (as Dan signed up in the midst of the students, to read "The Last Spanking" -- hmm...)

Christina Bernardo did a poem by Naomi Nye, & read it well; Whitney Prontecki & group did one on a bad day; Katie Vermilyea, "Send for the Woman"; Stevie on a first place beauty; Lisa "241"; Heather Cirula cut-up a newspaper better than Burroughs; Christina Rufa, "There Was a Bear"; a group calling themselves the "Stratocasters" followed their prof; Christopher Petterson had the best hat of the night, with a memory of Fall; Michelle Bula saw "Saddam Hussein Hanging in a Coffee Shop", a very effective piece; and Jessica S. read a poem by Heather about the class.

And these students didn't just run away when their reading was done, & thus got to hear the community poets who keep the series going, including Mimi's fine work, some poems from her forthcoming book, War Psalms (Finishing Line Press). Some very serious work, not to say humorless, from Mimi that poets need to pay attention to.

Alan Catlin took the bus down from Schenectady & recounted what happened last night (see the Blog entry for NightSky Cafe, April 18). Then Tim Verhaegen; Therese Broderick; & Frank Robinson with a piece taking flight from Emma Lazarus on a humane immigration policy (on this we agree, Frank), Chris Brobham on Reincarnation, & Finnegan in German & English.

John Raymond, who will be the featured poet on May 17, read a piece about being a horny librarian, which harkened me back to my teenage years as a horny library patron. Both Sylvia Barnard & Bob Sharkey read poems using public transportation as metaphors. And Moses Kash III was back. Shaun Baxter thought he was at the bottom of the list, read his ironic paean to Goth poets, "Like the Undead..." Marty Mulenex probably didn't realize when he read "Disgusted" about flags that he was followed by the "flag-poet", Kevin Lee Gilbert, who read about Ahab instead.

One of my best nights ever since I moved over to the Social Justice Center (33 Central Ave., Albany, every third Thursday, 7:30 start).