June 28, 2007

Poetry off the Hook, June 26

There have been a number of incarnations of the poetry open mic at the Moon & River Cafe on N. Ferry St. in Schenectady -- just like there have been many incarnations of Richard Genest's cafes: the Half Moon Cafe, Mother Earth's Cafe, whatever-it-was in Cobleskill, the Moon & River Cafe. Joe Johnson ran one for a while, then Deb Bump, not counting the poets squeezed in during the music open mics. The latest host is Marty Mulenex who gets the award for the shortest route from open mic virgin to open mic host, a veritable matter of months. But although it was advertised as a 7PM start (& we all know they don't start at 7), he didn't start until almost 8PM. It wasn't like no one was there, that we were waiting for the tour bus to arrive, we were all there. Somehow Marty got infected by the Engelhardt syndrome: announce a start time, then start an hour later, waiting, hoping, for people to show up -- let's hope that this doesn't mean he'll get locked out the next time (Richard wouldn't do that).

Anyway, eventually I read first, "Photo at the QE2, 1991" (which I would've read at the Colony last night if Michele had been there) &, for the first time, "Night Sky" (see Blog entry for June 22).

Ann Stocker said she had read there before at other open mics, but I must've missed her -- too bad for me, based on what I heard tonight. "Menina," about a young girl on an island off the coast of Brazil, weaving in Portuguese, & "The Globe Extinguishes," which said was "a bit pretentious" -- yes, but not bad either.

The youngest poet of the night (& most nights) was Nina Cerniglia who without a mic was nearly inaudible. The best I could get was one poem was about flowers & the other about her as a kid. At 6 or 7 years old poetry is natural to her, nearly all kids her age can write short, effective, playful poems -- that's their spirit as kids: their life is a poem at that age. Let's see what she is like at 15 or 16, when kids mostly shut themselves up with friends or video games & people like her grandmother (or me) are weird freaks. That's when the real poetry begins.

Marty read his poem to Richard, from the short-lived venture with Arthur's Market, what Marty said was his first poem read out, "At Ease at Arthur's".

OK, I've finally got it correct, after printing 200 flyers for Poets in the Park, it's Chris Brabham -- I've been habitually mis-spelling it, as previous entries on this Blog serve as ample evidence. Chris read "Thank you for the Chaos" & later came back to do "Let the So-Called Nurses Stand Up."

I think Marty was waiting for Tim to arrive but Tim must've had to get himself straightened out & then didn't bring any poems, so he did a short ditty from memory that I essentially missed.

el Presidente Thom Francis (AlbanyPoets.com) didn't bring any poems either. But he had showed me a copy of the new (further) upstate edition of Chronogram & he is the first poet published there, so he read his classic "Radio Man" from the premier issue. The new Chronogram looks like the edition published for many years in the mid-Hudson region -- expensive, upscale ads; classy, attractive layouts; short, so-what articles (on Thomas Merton??). The kind of thing that can make money for the businessmen owners, but not anything I would send home to Mom (if I had one). I don't envy my friend Tim Cahill having to deal with the business of it all, nor poetry editor Mary Panza (bets on how many poetry editors they'll go through in the next year?). It'll do fine, there are lots of "real artists" out there up in the hills. I'm glad Thom was the first poet they published (& the first poems he's had published, except for his own Other:___); ask me & I'll give you a list of the poets they won't publish.

Anyway, Marty finished up the night with a new one, "we as poets know it..." it began.

Marty says it will be the last Tuesday of the month, but check the time.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

dan
yr patience astounds me...you actually sat through that woodstock guy rambling for 45 minutes...I should either applaud you for it or curse you for not letting him know what an absurd and egotistical person he is
charlie

Tim Verhaegen said...

Dan,

Poets Speak Loud has been on the albanypoets.com calendar for years as starting at 7 PM. It never starts till 8 PM or 8:15. The insiders know that. Any outsider using the website and showing up at 7 PM would have to wait at least an hour. If the person inquired about the discrepancy, they'd be pounded with no apologies. The practice of a very late start appears to be embraced in the inner poetry circles of Albany. Interestingly, Caffe Lena, Live in the Livingroom and Third Thursday Wilcox poetry do not follow that practice.

One cannot attribute this to Engelhardt. Engelhardt may do it but he is imitating one of the most popular and accepted open mic hosts in the region. Can one criticize Engelhardt for his imitation of the popular? Can one criticize Marty for the same imitation?

One can only hope that the first-time or the out-of-town open mic poet doesn't run off during that long hour wait. Thats a long time for someone alone in that situation.

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