Another pleasant evening of poetry & conversation at the Capital District Gay & Lesbian Community Center, with host Don Levy.
The featured poet was Albany's favorite world-renowned poet, Pierre Joris. Reading from 2 slim, black loose-leaf binders, he first shared some poems about writing and a sequence of short pieces written at & inspired by Justin's in Albany: loud patrons, the music, whiskey, George Muscatello's guitar, you've been there. Then sections 22, 23 & 24 from the ongoing "Meditations on the Stations of Mansour Al-Hallaj," word-plays on the shape & meaning & associations of words in English & Arabic (Mansour Al-Hallaj was a Sufi mystic & itinerant saint). Anchorite Press has published an artful chapbook of sections 1-21; email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to get a copy.
After a break, the open mic began with A.C. Everson reading a poem by Scots poet Leon Conrad, "A Trip to the Body Arts Palace," a wonderful pastiche of the A.A. Milne poem, but in this updated version Christopher Robin (& Alice) visit a tattoo parlor -- a poem close to Annine's heart (or at least her arms, legs, back, etc.).
Alan Catlin has discovered the paintings of Stan Rice (the husband of Anne, the vampire writer) & gave us a grim "The Crime Scene," then a meditation about being a literate person who earned his living as a bartender, "A Strange Comfort Afforded by Profession" (& thus the source of so many of Alan's poems).
"The Peach" is a short erotic poem Gene Damm wrote for the now-defunct "Soul Kitchen" series, then read "Pruning it Back," to create a brief, connected series (or not).
Jim Masters has done a poem previously on the beginning of the Hebrew bible, tonight he did one based on the "Magnificat" from Luke, fascinating play on the language & ideas from the text.
Nicole Peyrafitte pondered a different type of text, the music & fellow patrons of a recent Tony Bennett concert in NYC -- Nicole went twice!
The theme for the night seems to have become "texts" of one sort or another & I had brought 2 older poems that coincidentally fell into that category: "Those Big APR Poems..." & (since it was Rosh Hashana ) "Taschlich."
Bob Sharkey's very interesting piece, "The Trail," used a found restaurant receipt & the song "Say it's Possible" to imagine what was possible, which, after all, is the role of artists, isn't it?
Shaun Baxter didn't read any of his own work, but instead from the out-of-print novel Seeds of Grass by Jonathan McFarr, about the descendants of Walt Whitman & a prostitute.
Our host, Don Levy, read from Jacque Prevert (to Pierre's delight) & his true story account of a "Sermon in the Bus Shelter" -- such fun on CDTA.
& such fun at this reading each 2nd Wednesday, 332 Hudson Ave., Albany -- NY, but then you never know.