September 27, 2007

Third Thursday Poetry Night, September 20

Another third Thursday at the Social Justice Center, with your fantastic (objectively speaking) host, Dan Wilcox -- hey, that's me. And the muse was the late Grace Paley -- "It is the responsibility of society to let the poet be a poet..." ("Responsibility").

Alan Catlin started us off with "Marat/Sade, Mineola Playhouse 1967" -- ah, yes.

Joe Krausman read a poem by his friend Robert Couteau from Collected Couteau (Open Virgin Press, 2006), "The Existentialists," for his father, Tom Couteau, once my boss (it's a long story, but I'll tell it if you ask nicely).

Dayl Wise drove up from Woodstock & read about school memories, "Room 304," that he dedicated to Dave Cline, peace activist, former leader of Vietnam Veterans Against War & Veterans for Peace (see the earlier Blog on the Colony Cafe reading).

Sally Rhoades read a poem written on the train home today, "A Trip Home." She dances too.

I met tonight's featured poet, Miriam Herrera at John Montague's poetry Workshop at SUNY a number of years ago, have always been enamoured of her work & she included one she had workshopped, "Kiva at Chaco Canyon" (you can read it on her Blog -- see the link at the bottom of the page). But around it she hung a couple of longer poems that, in their quiet intensity, implicitly questioned the in-your-face slam performances that young poets think are tickets to success. She started with a glorious love poem to her husband, "The Poet and the Mathematician Hiking at Burnt Mesa." She brought us to New Mexico near the on-going detonations of Los Alamos, & Einstein & watermelons & Oppenheimer & the words of math & the problems of the soul. I got lost in her reading of her other New Mexico poem, "Kaddish for Columbus: Prayer for 500 Years" (also on her Blog), thinking Tom would have liked to hear it -- but then I suspect he did. And she ended with a dividend, a poem about her mother from Beyond, "The New Outfit," remembering "first sweetheart, first loss, first beer, first reminder you once were a girl..." I tape the features & this is one tape I will cherish.

After the break I read "Starting the Wine" (look for it here on this Blog) -- & wished she were here.

Mimi Moriarty told us "My Mother Never Wrote Poetry." Then Don Levy revisited recent scandals in Congress with "Tap Dancing in the Bathroom Stall."

NicoleK was back with the perennial relationship poem, this one titled "To Kenneth." Therese L. Broderick pondered harassing birds & Achilles' shield in "What Shines."

Kevin Lee Gilbert gets out of work late from the paper & was able to squeeze in with a series of linked haiku about the end of the world, "What Compensation."

That was the end of the list, but then I noticed Matt Galleta sitting there without having signed up so I shamed him into reading "The Class Photo" -- I'm glad he did.

Third Thursdays, the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., the money I steal from you supports the poet, the work of the Poetry Motel Foundation & the Social Justice Center. Please come.