At the Lark Tavern with host & attendance-taker, Mary Panza (who didn't even read).
So I, Dan Wilcox, ended up being #1 on The List again & read a couple new poems inspired by conversations with other poets, "Consumerism," & "Poetry Prompts." I was followed by Scott Casale, who hasn't been around for a while. Both his poems seemed based on random phrases & images, "Stop Writing a Piccolo's Refund," & "Amarillo Bleu," where the second stanza is a re-arrangement of the first stanza.
Dain Brammage was brought on stage to demonstrate the challenge that has been tossed before us for next Tuesday's "Albany Poets Presents" at Valentines', to give a dramatic reading of the worst song yet; don't ask me what Dain's song was, but it contained the line "the world needs wannabes." I've got my song picked out & have been practicing my anguished tone. For information check out www.albanypoets.com.
Josh McIntyre told us the results of being allergic to bees in "Last Day in the Garden" (& I thought it was a cynical reference to the end of his bachelorhood), and another poem. Lacy O. doesn't often read so it was a nice surprise to her tonight: 2 untitled pieces, one written by a friend in Wisconsin, the other her own, commenting that "... we're not as evolved as we think ..."
The tall-man with an attitude, Bob Wright showed up, pissed us off with his strutting "tall-man poem", then made us laugh about New Jersey; he has a great occasional reading series in Hudson & has been around for years.
The featured poet, Phillip Levine, was forsaking his own open mic (at the Colony Cafe in Woodstock, every Monday) to come to Albany. I like his romantic wistfulness, tinged with cynical humor. He introduced his first poem ("... a woman on the subway moving towards you ...") by saying, "Perhaps this has happened to you," & of course it always has. He read poems playing on the common sayings, the cliches, we all speak in, & one to his acupuncturist, poems on memory, on what Poets do ("Poet" as stand-in for everyone), & included his moving anti-war poem, "Rivers & Gardens", which he said was an attempt to speak about war without yelling at the opposition). Other poems, &, of course, his ongoing -- up to over 1000 now -- series of poems on playing cards: short, aphoristic & koan-like. It was great he could get "time off" to share his work with Albany folk who don't make it to Woodstock. Worth the trip from anywhere any Monday night.
Perfect for the season, James Schlett read "Ten Thousand Leaves," culled from a letter, he said. When not commenting on my Blog Tim Verhaegen has seemed to found time to continue revising "War" & also read one of my new favorites, "Finally" (see my comments on this poem on earlier Blogs).
Sometimes procrastination is good -- if I had written this Blog when I got home from the Lark Tavern Monday night it wouldn't have given Therese Broderick a chance to revise her poem, "Ortega's Obelisk", (which she had just written that day) & put it up on her Blog (see the link below "Ekphrasis in Poetry"). But then the one you read is not the one she read.
Someone said, "You're So Stubborn," but perhaps not to Frank Robinson who said that that poem was not autobiographical -- who said all writing is autobiographical (free second poem at the Third Thursday for the first person to give me the citation)?; & another of my favorites, "The New New Colossus," based on the Emma Lazarus poem everyone knows.
Chris Brabham said "fuck you" to his stressors & took his bike to the horizon with "Devil's Day Out," & began "Fear's Last Stand" with a scream, vanquishing fears -- perfect for Halloween. I thought I had something to fear from NicoleK when she began "Carnage Devised" but it was only a pumpkin she was carving up; another poem mused about the "delicious" silence before the knock. We are waiting...
Last Monday of the month at Tess' Lark Tavern, Madison Ave., Albany. Yes.