October 4, 2008

at the Perfect Blend Coffeehouse, October 1

This is one of a random, continuing series organized by Alan Casline out of his Rootdrinker Institute (see my Blog of September 22). This is also the first reading documented with my new digital camera, which means that instead of getting old pictures of the poets from my archives, I should be able to include photos from the events as they happen, once I work out all the details. This was an open mic with a featured poet, Michael Czarnecki from FootHills Publishing, but more on him later.

Our host, Alan Casline, began with his poem from The Annals of Perious Frink, "At Severson's Tavern on the Schoharry Road," & one about a historian walking the land, "The Mystery of the Ghost Haunted Hill." Paul Amidon also read his piece from the Perious Frink collection, "Fate Taps Mr. Perious Frink," then the prosy joke, "Thoughts at the Auction." Mimi Moriarty likes to link her poems & tonight she read about the funerals of 2 dead soldiers, one about a recent photo of a general presenting a medal to the family of a dead soldier, the other about the internment of her father's ashes at Arlington National Cemetery.

Mark O'Brien (also known as "Obeedude") said he had never read this poem, "Home" written during the presidential primary races earlier in the year. Tim Lake brought up his folder of random scraps, but each poem was carefully dated: "New Day Dawning" about a July 2007 storm, "Stones & Tea" sitting by a pond in April, 2008, & "Morning Journey," going to work on a cold morning in 2007. I had signed up late, read "Rain" for the day's weather, & "Reading Chinese Poetry" for our out-of-town featured poet.

Before our featured poet's reading, Alan Casline presented him with a certificate "For Best Small Press Work Rootdrinker Institute Presents The Apex Grand Exultancy Award to Michael Czarnecki." Michael is the publisher of FootHills Publishing, who has published such locally known poets as Carol Graser, Robert Milby & Charlie Rossiter, among many, many others. Although Alan & Michael have "known" each other through their work over the years, this is the first time they had actually met. Michael read from his recently published selected works, Never Stop Asking for Poems, & from other works. But he started off with a poem to his mother on her 70th birthday, 12 years ago & referencing one of his favorite Chinese poets, T'ao Ch'ien (to use the old spelling). He included a couple of dream poems & poems about poetry, the intricate weave of the 5 parts of "Seeing Across the Chasm," even "Political Talk." He included 2 sections from his book about traveling Route 20 across America (through 2 Albanys), then, as the coffeehouse was closing, he returned to his home & to his beloved Chinese poets with "As Autumn Approaches on Wheeler Hill." A most pleasant evening of poetry &, later, talk among friends & poets. Check out Michael's catalog on www.foothillspublishing.com.