March 11, 2008

Third Thursday Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center, February 21

A friend recently asked about the poetry readings at the Cafe Web, formerly on Madison Ave. in the right-hand side of what is now The Muddy Cup. I reminded him that this Third Thursday Poetry night now at the SJC is the same reading -- that when Cafe Web closed, the readings (held on the Third Thursday of each month) were moved to Changing Spaces Gallery on Hudson Ave., then to the Lark St. Bookshop, & now at the SJC on Central Ave., a continuous series for over 10 years. So here we were again on a cold night in February, still invoking a muse who tonight was Aimé Césaire, his poem "Word".

As usual we did some open mic poets before & after the feature. Sylvia Barnard read her Greek-inspired poem, "Elysis." Alan Catlin read "Self-Portrait of the Author Afraid of His Self-Portrait" from his new chapbook with the same title published by March Street Press ( Listed on Amazon too.

Michael Hare has been reading around from his book, Saratoga Lives (see some of my previous Blogs on this) & tonight shared a vignette about a worker for the city, "Freddy Doyle." Thérèse Broderick, whose ekphrastic poetry link is listed below in the "Links" read an example of the genre, based on a painting by Grant Wood, "Death on the Ridge Road."

Bob Sharkey reminded us how we dress this time of year with "Layers" of the country names of the clothes he was wearing for the last few weeks.

Tonight's featured poet was Michael Bostick whose chapbook, Mou-si: Life Lessons and Thoughts Set to Poetry is from RoseDog Books ( His simply crafted musings discuss his "dysfunctional life" & his struggle to rise out of it. He read some poems from his book, but the bulk were from a new manuscript he hopes to publish soon, including some love poems & a poem on his mixed heritage. It was a pleasure not only to see a new poet struggling to find his voice (which is one of the constant joys of open mics), but also one confronting his demons.

I started off the second half open mic with my on-going homage to my shamans, "Communion of Saints." Then Bryan Clogg was back with a poem about working at music festivals. Then W.D. Clarke told us the story in rhyme of "Henry Lincoln Johnson," the black World War I hero, fitting since we were only a few doors down from Henry Johnson Boulevard.

Joe Hollander experimented with a random collection of military & cultured phrases for an instant poem. Moses Kashi (the new version of "Moses Kash III") was perplexed by the President dancing with Africans & wrote "The Inside Rath of President Bush & Moses -- what a thought to take home with us.