September 16, 2007

Lark Fest 2007, Saturday, September 15



(Here's a shot of Uncle Don at Lark Fest 2005 back when the poets were behind the port-a-potties, which made it easy to remember where they were & find them, even if you only had to piss.)


I'm not a big fan of these festivals, especially for poetry -- over-priced vendors, the same hot dogs & pizza & lemonade everywhere (I did find some decent clam chowder, overpriced, of course), crowds, wobbly port-a-johns, sanitized bands, cute honeys (oh, wait, that's a good thing). But Albany Poets did the best it could under the circumstances, & I think having poets do short, zingy sets between bands was a good idea. I especially liked Jim Gaudet's new band, &, of course, the Jug Stompers.

I did catch most of the poets in between walking around looking at coin-slots, although I had gotten there "late" (according to Don -- I didn't know he was taking attendance), & missed some of the first poets. Fortunately, I was just in time for Carol Graser, whom I always enjoy, reading from her new book, The Wild Twist of Their Stems (www.foothillspublishing.com). I've told you already to buy this book, so why haven't you?

John Raymond is also great to hear anywhere, even if the band was tuning up & the bag-piper at the John Jameson tent was keening up the short plaid skirts of the colleens. Shaun Baxter also read & read Shaun Baxter poems, & one by Dan Wilcox (thanks, Shaun, I was honored).

Poor Deb Bump was wandering lost on Lark St., so Don Levy & Dain Brammage filled in at the end -- perhaps Deb surfaced after I left, so I never got to hear John Weiler's silenced guitar.

Of course, like the bands, you don't get to hear some of the poets' real stuff, having to censor themselves for this "family oriented" event. As my Grandmother used to say, "You can't say shit even if you've got a mouthful." I got in trouble a few years back when I read for doing a poem about what I couldn't (& didn't) say & haven't been asked back. But if I am asked back, it will rain.

The best part of these events, 'though, is the people you meet & hang out with, like Cheryl & Michael pondering Albany, like the "long-lost" Zitomers & their recently married daughter, like Lacy putting on a shirt -- you can't buy tickets for shows like that.