November 27, 2007

Poets Speak Loud!, November 26

[Erik Sweet reading some time ago at Red Square -- in Albany, not Moscow.]

The boss lady Mary Panza took over the hosting duties here at the Lark Tavern, & what a night, with new poets, & the return of others, & poet-hosts booking future features -- just what's supposed to happen, & it didn't go on forever.

But I picked the wrong stuff to read here, but then that's what the open mic is for, right? My 2 poems were about the Brick Elephant up in Valley Falls & a couple of performances & installations there put on by Mary Jane Leach, "Eight Hermit Thrushes," & "In Church." Not enough sex, death or politics for the venue, ho hum.

Shaun Baxter had no such problem with his 2 popular pieces, "For Our Single-Celled Relatives" & the great mix of baseballs, apricots & cat shit, "Pitching Practice."

It was great to see Simone Sneed back in town & on stage -- she was my last featured poet at Changing Spaces Gallery before I moved to the Lark St. Bookshop & I don't think I've seen her since. Apparently in the meantime she's been honing her spoken word craft & is now back in town. Her first piece was "originally a love poem that went bad." The second piece took us from poets as prophets to prophets as poets reminding me of Rahssan Roland Kirk singing of "blacknuss."

The featured poet, Erik Sweet, co-curates the "Behind the Egg" series at Point 5 with Daniel Nester. He's also one of Albany's "invisible" poets, writing & editing zines but not getting to the stage very often. His poems were philosophical ponderings grounded in the things of our lives we all recognize, like Atari 64, or the meditation on "The Modern Chair," or the movies of Bill Murray (which was on the nature of poetry, & sadness), or the great chain of being in "The Love of Things." There was Erik on stage quietly talking to us & blowing our minds.

I didn't realize until now how apt the title for Margot Malia Lynch's poem was: "The Archeology of Inner Space" (sounds ponderous) but it took us through many layers, like an excavation, from goddesses, to crystals, on to the real problem of getting away from him. I don't think she had ever read here at the Lark Tavern before.

Don Levy's new poem was based on his attendance at Bob Wright's poetry series in Athens (NY), "Do Not Feed the Poets." Among the reasons why,"... they'll do anything for cheese ... it only makes them smugger ..." (a new word). His second poem was the hilarious commentary on inspiration, "Why I Blew My Muse." Oh yes.

Chris Brabham didn't need the mic he dismantled to read the sonorous "Death of the Crimson Scourge."

"The Storm" must have a real name but I didn't get it; it was her first time here. She did 2 "love" poems, such as they were, leaving us whooping it up -- "Who's the Fool in Love?" & the bad sex "bullshit known as foreplay" "As We Lay."

& there were more poets there who didn't read, sign up, but hung out & we all had a good time, before, during & after. No open mic here in December (it would fall on New Year's Eve). Third anniversary & 4th annual beret-toss on the last Monday in January (that's 2008), with your guest host, Dan Wilcox -- hey, that's me!