March 29, 2008

Poetry @ the UAG, March 28

This collaborative series between Jawbone & Albany Poets continued in spite of the Spring break at the University, with the host Chris Rizzo.

Carol Graser is the fine, popular poet who is the host of the monthly open mic at historic Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs. Her carefully prepared program included poems from her book, The Wild Twist of Their Stems (FootHills Publishing), & other poems, a few rarely read, like "12 Years" & the tender love poem that began "there is a land in me of you..." Others were old favs such as "Discourse on Myself Addressed to the Patriarch," These Colors" (responding to the proliferation of flags), "Ecology," & the moving description of her father's PTSD, "Pope Air Force Base". Accessible work that is sometimes funny, often takes poetic leaps, & always engaging, getting better all the time.

Jacqueline Jones LaMon traveled from Adelphi University where she is an Assistant Professor of English. She began with poems from her book, Gravity, U.S.A. (Quercus Review Press), from her name, to her son, her father, even to mis-carried children. "Turnaround," about conversation on the bus between L.A. & Las Vegas, is a subtle abcdarian, even negotiating the tricky "x". She also read from a series in progress on missing children, sometimes from the family's view, sometimes over time ("The Age Progression Artist Pencils in Thicker Lashes"), sometimes in sonnet form, & often with long titles. She ended with "Ariel", a poem about the destruction & aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While carefully crafted her poems are not by any stretch "academic"; they are entertaining poems that confront the personal & the political with images from real life.

Still another fine reading in this series. More to come.