August 5, 2007

Caffe Lena Open Mic, August 1



(That's our host, Carol Graser, reading her poetry at the Take Back the Night rally in Albany, NY in April.)

Tonight she read from "the mother of the mother of us all" Gertrude Stein's "Patriarchal Poetry" -- who'd ever thought she would have to add repetition to Gertrude Stein!

A great night with visiting poets from California & Maine, some "new kids", poets from Albany, locals, regulars.

I think I wrote this down correctly from Carol's sign up sheet: Alibragotguh shot, but I'm always expecting corrections. Anyways, a new, young face with a couple poems, one in rhyme. Maybe people are signing up with their facebook or MySpace names.

Jan Tramontano used her real name & read 2 poems with a nod to an upcoming HVWG workshop on Writing from Art, which when I run the titles together sounds like an idea for another poem, "Picasso Playing God with Lovers" "In Rodin's Garden."

Francis Dieterle said it was "On the Color Blue." I told Gabe Tomasulo that I was complimenting him when I said he sounded like his father (& even has the wild curly hair) & he was pleased & I liked his poem about shoes & socialist labor. Nice to see him doing his own thing.

I like the way Josh McIntyre says his titles twice, that way I caught it when he said "A Musing" (about childhood); "Bed Bugs" I caught right away. Another new face, Laura Calanari described too many demons "Out Here."

The feature features (that will become clear later) were (local) Mimi Moriarty and her brother from California, Frank Desiderio. They put together one of the best features I'd seen in a while. As Mimi described it, they were "companion poems," not poems written together, but more like mined from each of their bodies of work. As could be expected they both read poems about parents (about their mother dying, about their father: "A Stroke of a Hammer" by Frank & "A Carpenter Dying" by Mimi). But it worked even when they each have a poem with a seagull in it, ("Mourning Pages" by Mimi & "One-legged Seagull" by Frank), or both have poems about the same Vermeer painting, "The Girl with the Pearl Earring," or religion, or Niagara Falls. The format was doubly (reaching for a pun here) effective in that sometimes Mimi read her poem first, & sometimes Frank. Mimi's new book War Psalm was supposed to be available for the reading but wasn't, & Frank had his for sale, Digging for God. Perhaps he'll be back sometime so they can do it again.

After the break, Carol read "The Small Bereavement of a Child Leaving," the irony of parenthood that we raise our children so they can go away.

The "spotlight feature" doing a mini-set was the legendary Michael Brown of Boston slam & the Cantab Lounge fame. He's now in downeast Maine teaching school & writing poetry. In true performance style, he forsook the stage to walk through & confront the audience, & did most of his work from memory. He also did a piece from his book, The Confidence Man. Great to see him in town.

I had forgotten that Mary Kathryn Jablonski's "Letter to the Husband I Have Not Yet Met" was actually a series (she read a couple in June here but in my mind they conflated to one poem). Tonight, she read Letter 11 & Letter 10 (I don't think I'm a size 42 anymore), hmmm.

Therese Broderick returned to the writing from art theme with "Les Dindon" about a less known Monet painting with turkeys.

James Schlett re-did "What Are You Looking At?" & a poem from the Grafton pond, a regular Nature Boy.

When Bob Sharkey did his poem about what was going on "At 23", Carol reminded him 23 was a prime number (which shows up as the only number in William Burroughs visionary Egyptian novel The Western Lands).

Michael Brown had done a piece about a root canal, & one of Jeneane Odenkirk's poems was a retaliation by donuts to a visit to the dentist. Then Erin Moberg read a poem on "The Corporate Life" followed by "Numerology" which would make sense, but the second was a love poem, I think. Then Lily Ringler was "Away."

Dan Wilcox (that's me, of course -- in the past I've just written "I", as any of you would have, but realized that in order to show up on Google, I've got to "state my name" & wouldn't you want to show up on Google? -- not sure about that, since some of those other "Dan Wilcox"s are stone Dorks.) Since it is August & it's Saratoga Springs, & all the usual parking spots are taken, & even the usual free lot is charging $6 (but I found Doug's "15 Minute Parking" spot), I read "And the Mary Lou Whitney You Rode In On" for the summer horsey crowd, & Tom Nattell's "Hiroshima" because Monday is August 6.

Mary Cuffe Perez is actually writing a series titled "Why Meringue Fails" & read the title poem -- I do poems, not meringue.

And Hannah Boucher who has certainly grown up at Caffe Lena read the transformational "Garter Snake."

First Wednesdays. If you want to contribute (besides showing up) to poetry at Caffe Lena, check out the website -- if it's not there, it should be.