February 21, 2008

Poetry At the Hudson, February 16

[Poetry on the Hudson Host Bob Wright at the Social Justice Center some time ago.]

I hadn't been there since I read last year at its inaugural reading & I kept looking for the Parthenon until I remembered, "Athens New York, not Greece." But the grand Hudson River is just down the street.

Bob Wright began with 2 poems ("2 poems or 4 pages, whichever comes first" was the limit), "Together" & "Waiting". I read a recently completed (with the able editing of another poet) poem about my son "Jack Sketching, " then the William Carlos Williams pastiche "So Much Depends Upon..." (which is somewhere on this Blog).

In a characteristically humorous & puzzling Ron Rybecki performance, Pierre discussed books he'd brought from his library & a recent newspaper article until her ran out of time for his "poem."

The always-fetching Cheryl A. Rice read a new piece, "Camouflage" that knitted together a scarf, a visit to MySpace, children and going to war, then, for the anniversary of Plath's baking, she read "Syliva at Least." (We do miss the annual Bake-Off.)

Mimi Moriarty read 2 family dinner memoir poems, "After Dinner Prayer" & "Silent Sabbath." Marion Menna made a rare appearance with 2 flying-creature poems, one a childhood memory of seeing Monarch butterflies in a tree, the other about drawing kill-deer.

Leslie Gerber, in his best radio voice, was the open mic hit of the day with the funny, quirky litany of "Dreams." Reading later that night in Kingston Matthew J. Spireng had time for one "Fire."

Barbara Adams was the first of the featured poets & began with a bunch of recent poems, some monologues (by Eve, a man from Wales & an aging former Miss America who shoots out the tires of the car of a thief), some poems on food ("Organic Medicine" & "At the Genghis Khan Buffet"), other ponderings, including one written 3 days ago, "Carbon Footprint" on the cars waiting in line. She concluded with some older poems from her publications, "Burying an New England Husband," one about a Russian street vendor in Manhattan, & "Cambrian Clay."

The former actor Guy Reed's poem all seemed to come out of notes about something seen, like the paintings of his father-in-law or a pretty girl ("A Poem about Light Bulbs, Potatoes, & Collar Bone Tattoos"), or "A Patch of Walt's Grass." Or about crows: "Crows of Time" & "Natural Order at 60 Miles Per Hour." Or about the Big Ideas, of Love, or Death: the "Observation" that all songs are about Love, or all songs are about Death, depending upon what you just experienced; "Air Travel Take-Off"; the humorously titled "A Crises in Existential Linear Thinking on the Road of Life"; & 3rd grade Melancholy, in "October Grey." He ended with the common poetic experience of a dream-poem lost, "Still Life with Acorn."

A pleasant afternoon, with some piano musings by Don Yacullo. On the third Saturday of the even-numbered months (try & program your calendar for that one), at the Athens Cultural Center on Second St. in Athens, NY, with your host Bob Wright.