November 1, 2007

Poets Speak Loud!, October 29

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.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

from Therese--I think Oscar Wilde said all art is autobiography.

Tim V. said...

I was very disappointed Edgar Allan Poe and Walt Whitman were too lazy to show up.

Thom said...

Funny you say that Tim. Rob Engelhardt showed up about 20 minutes after the reading was over with a book of Poe to read at the open mic.

Tim V. said...

I don't know you well enough to know whether you're kidding or not.

If you had said Rob Engelhardt showed up with a book of Poe and his back up band, then I'd known for sure.

Dan Wilcox said...

That was Rob? I thought it was the guy from "Matrix Unloaded."

Tim V. said...

Dan Wilcox I wish you would do a blog on poetry workshop groups. Whats the take on poetry workshop groups within the poetry community?

All the people I know(except Mimi) in poetry workshops do NOT go to open mics. All the people I know that go to open mics do NOT go to poetry workshop groups.

I know this because I go to both.

what gives?

Anonymous said...

from Therese--Each month, I try to go to two open mics and two workshop groups. I do both, like Mimi. The other 3 people in one of my poetry workshop groups attend and read at open mics too. So at least 6 people that I know do both.

Tim V. said...

Thanks Therese, thats interesting to know. I was curious - how big is your group? I'm in a group with six members. I'm in another group with fifteen members. The smaller group has less dissension. Which I guess is natural. It seems the large group has broken into several smaller camps. A group that goes to the bar after as opposed to those that don't. And people tend to cluster when their style of writing is the same.

A very interesting people study - poetry workshop groups.

I used to think it was all very objective, but the critiquing seems more subjective as times goes on. When people know each other a long time, can they separate the personal views of the person from the poem? I can't say I'm certain, even about myself. Some people in my group say the critiquing is too harsh, some say its not harsh enough.

Some people love revolving door groups where anybody can come. Others are adamantly against open groups and want to rely on knowing who will be in attendance week to week.

And of course, many are against the whole poetry workshop process.

I had my thoughts the first year of poetry workshop groups, I have my thoughts on the second year, it will be interesting to see what my observations are on the third year.

I'd love to know people's views on the poetry workshop experience.

I don't count my college poetry. I started writing poetry Summer 2005.

I do believe I'm in my terrible twos.

Observing, questioning, testing everything. Growing pains all over the place.

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