June 10, 2008

Albany Poets Present!, June 3

At Valentines with Thom Francis our quietly competent host, an open mic with The Poet Essence featured.

A new voice, Emily Epstein started off with 3 apparently untitled poems, stream-of-conciousness, some hip-hop rhymes, & piling up of details, images -- she read a little too fast at times, but otherwise fun stuff. I did the old poem "John Lees" & the new one "Combat Boots." Sylvia Barnard reprised her "Pilgrimage to Vermont." Quietly amassing a huge photo collection herself, Kristen Day evoked the faces & voices of "Phobic" & also "Birthmark" ("we all have them, don't we?" is a haunting line). Ed Rinaldi told us the story of "Friday Afternoon at the Sparrow Funeral."

Those of you who read my Blog know the respect I have both for the poetry/performances of The Poet Esssence & for her personal work in the community. I've posted a couple of her poems here on my Blog. And in spite of what I might have implied in the past, she is not a "Slam poet;" she is a better performer than that. This night she performed some new work in addition to others we have heard before. "When a Baby Dies" will be on her new CD & is for Kathina Thomas, the young Albany girl killed by a stray bullet recently. "The Silent Talks" is on her CD Persuasively Seduced. She also did "Crooked Change Smeared" & "Nigga Speaks" (speak back!). "24 Hours" about trying to save a homeless family is on her CD 4For Seasons. She ended with the activist anthem "It's Not Just Words" (on this Blog), then got called back for an encore (an encore at a poetry reading!!) of "Classified Woman" (on 4For Seasons). When you see that she is performing someplace, clear your calendar & go -- tell her "Dan sent me."

Every 1st Tuesday at Valentines near where New Scotland Ave. begins in Albany, 8:00PM.