November 17, 2007

Third Thursday Poetry Night, November 15

Our muse was the Chinese poet Tu Fu (712-770), & I (Dan Wilcox) was your host once again at the Social Justice Center.

It seemed to be a night of looking for poems & of former World Trade Center workers, it's always something.

Sylvia Barnard couldn't find the revised version of "The Frog Pond," but we enjoyed whatever version of the return to the farm where she grew up we heard. Michael Hare had been at the last Caffe Lena reading (q.v.) & read us another from Saratoga Lives, this time a contemporary character.

Alan Catlin read his poem about a Viet Nam vet, "No Smoking," from the new Guerilla Poetry Project anthology -- check out GPP at www.guerillapoetics.org. One never knows who might be a local GPP Operative, do one?

Next was the mini-segment of people who formerly worked in the World Trade Center. Joan McNerney worked in the 3rd sub-basement, now lives up here, has a chapbook, Having Lunch with the Sky out from A.P.D. (another poetry day, etc.), read the computer lingo "Virtual Love". Barry Finley also worked at the WTC at about the same time as Joan, & in the same agency I worked for at the time! Some people say "small world;" I say, "We're all connected." Barry read his poem to the real Deep Throat, "I Never Really Knew You Mark Felt."

The featured poet Margot Malia Lynch looked elegant in her black dress & heels but her performance seemed less dressed than she was, as she fumbled through her notebook looking for poems. But then this is one of my "pet peeves" -- the paper-shuffling poet. Although she did joke about it, saying it was a performance piece -- "la-la-la". Then again, she was a bit rattled by a random guy who came in from the street in a rain poncho who kept asking her to repeat her first poem. All but her last poem ("Rocking Me to the Sky") were untitled, or at least she didn't share her titles. Her poems had a strong "I" presence: her feelings, her exuberance -- "I wear this poem like an emotion" -- written in a run-on style like automatic writing, & often with implied music behind her, a rock band.

One final "peeve" has to do with my favorite peeve, slam poems. My basic position, as many of you know, is that, for the most part, slam is more performance (i.e., acting) than poetry. So Margot introduced her only political poem, saying she had performed it at a slam, but "it's not really totally from the heart ... don't think it's that good... " Proves my point. I agreed with the political sentiments expressed; too bad she didn't.

I followed the break with a new poem, "Luna Mobilis," minus the footnotes. W.D. Clarke was back with a rhyme from memory on the casualties of war, "Urchins."

Therese Broderick has been doing her poems from memory too & "One Part per Million" contained a lot of numbers that essentially are irrelevant to a real princess who can taste the wine. Moses Kash III closed out the night with what he called a prose poem I think was called "Genesis," with some sung & chanted lines that he apparently has sent to Hillary Clinton. Do you think Moses is looking for a job in her administration? Minister of Culture?

Every Third Thursday, Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, 7:30 start.