July 5, 2008
Albany Poets Present!, July 1
[Not exactly the view this night at Valentines, but an image of what I have seen sometimes at the bar.]
Tonight we were exiled to the cavernous upstairs at Valentines while down below 4 head-banger bands nearly drowned us out & Kim the bartender did Sudoku. Oh well, we read loud, & short, & were back on the street before the sun had fully set. We had our own "hard-core" poets & some newer voices too.
I did "July 4 in the Year of the Terror" because it was the right time of the year, & "God" because it is short & scurrilous. A new voice, Pete Farina fit in quite nicely with the edgy night with "Driving in November," then what he said he likes to think of as "a real love poem," & one called "4 years;" hope he comes around again. Chris Brabham read the funny, sexy, thankful poem for his wife, "That Ass of Hers," then, after Sylvia, did his "Medicine Cabinet Junkie."
Sylvia Barnard has been reading "Pilgrimage to Vermont" at a couple open mics & tonight added a sequel about visiting an old graveyard there in her mother's childhood town. Kristen Day read her "Wasted Words" again, a funny, social satire about a passenger on a plane with a cellphone; "3 Squirrels" (& she doesn't like squirrels) is a funny take on the effects of medication.
Among the former Troy residents is Thom Francis who read a poem about a bum on 4th St., "Jesus Walks on the Water" and "Female Pedestrian," a poem about watching people from the roof of his building as they go into a club across the street.
Apparently Emily Epstein wasn't scared away last month & came back with a couple more poems, a train-of-thought ramble (a "scribble" she said) on writing, on space, on time, then a fast-speaking rap on reality, with rhymes.
I've been waiting to hear Chris Rizzo read at one of these open mics, but tonight he recited an early Thomas Hardy poem ("Heredity"), then Ezra Pound's tiny "In a Station of the Metro." Maybe he'll bring his own poems the next time.
Hopefully next month the poetry at Valentine's won't be double-booked with bands, but we'll just have to wait & see (first Tuesday).