Thom Francis was the host until Mary Panza got there & took over, which she is good at.
I had signed up first (it was available) & began "James" with a reference to a poet & poems that only one poet (who didn't read) got & then, because it was the beginning of Rosh Hashana, "Taslich." Sylvia Barnard followed me with her bookcase poem that brings in her mother, her daughter & a life-time of classics. Todd Fabozzi read "Have a Nice Day" from his new book Umbrageous Embers (Troy Book Makers). Josh McIntyre also bracketed a day with an untitled piece on a morning street, & the "Sunset" prayers at the end of the day. Joe Hollander took the title of this series literally & read LOUD, a rant on the fall of the stock market.
The night's featured poet was one of those rare "academics" who show up at poetry readings even when he's not paid (another here tonight, of course, is Sylvia), St. Rose College's Daniel Nester. He read a combination of poems from his youth in the Philadelphia area & from his (obsessive) writing about the band, "Queen." He read about the night he got his driver's license, with a "Purple Rain" soundtrack; a girl friend's last date in Philly at Dirty Frank's; the "Poem for the Novelist I Forced to Write a Poem"; and "Rodinesque" (at the Rodin museum in Philly, perhaps?). Nester's rock geek "Queen" poems (from God Save My Queen and God Save My Queen II) take as their titles individual songs by the group. Tonight he took requests & gave us "March of the Black Queen," "Who Wants to Live Forever" (in the mime contest at a "Queen" convention) & "Prophet Song," a few others & ended with "Bohemian Rhapsody."
On with the open mic, & William Eng confessed that he didn't write a poem at the table tonight as he usually does, instead paid tribute to 4 women in his life: his mother, his sister, someone he just met, & a friend who is walking across country. Shannon Shoemake as been AWOL for a while from the open mic scene, but tonight she was back with a couple of her signature relationship angst poems, driving home remembering it was "Only a Kiss," & sex & drinking on "Columbus Day."
Chaka gave us straight talk in rhyme about "Going Back to School," then "Confrontation" like a vamp singer. NicoleK (a self-confessed "foodie") referenced drugs in both her poems, "Happy Father's Day" & the funny discourse on Twinkies & Smurfs, etc., "We Were Not High I Swear." Mary Panza introduced RM Englehardt as "pound-for-pound the most dressed poet here tonight" (don't ask), & he read one of his many poems that has as its source a conversation with a cab driver, "Mystical Fucking Poetry Shit." The last poet of the night was "that art gallery poetry guy", John Weiler who pulled an old poem from an older notebook, "...while poets drink & die I fold my laundry...", and the political "King Canute."
The last Monday of any month, at the Lark Tavern, on Madison Ave., but not far from Lark St. Check it out on www.albanypoets.com.