November 14, 2008

Debriefing: Three Poets Examine the Aftermath of War, November 8

This was a reading that I was a part of along with Mimi Moriarty & Bob Sharkey at East Line Books in Clifton Park, NY. The blurb on the flyer stated, "Dan Wilcox served during the Vietnam War. Bob Sharkey was a conscientious objector. Mimi Moriarty is the daughter of a WWII veteran. Their poems reflect awe, outrage, humor, respect and resilience."

Mimi put together a program of paired poems, sometime Bob & Mimi, or Dan & Bob, or Mimi & Bob, including a poem by Iraq War vet Brian Turner from his book Here, Bullet (Alice James Books, 2005). Mimi included some poems from her chapbook, War Psalm (Finishing Line Press, 2007) & others, including the fortunately fading dream poem "The Feminization of George W. Bush."

Bob included poems from his new series on (unintentionally) ironic statements made by new Iraq war veterans, showing how much poetic material is out there just to listen to. He has been trying out these poems one-by-one at open mic so it was a pleasure to hear them clustered together.

In addition to poems from my "Peace Poems" chapbook, I read the Oil War I era broadside "Peace Marchers at the Viet Nam Memorial" & we did a group performance of the collaborative poem "Why Are We Here."

It was great to perform for an audience of mostly non-poet "citizens," the so-called ordinary folk drawn out for the Veterans Day weekend & for their concern for world peace. Personally I was thrilled to make some new acquaintances & to be part of a program that brought poetry to people that don't ordinarily go to poetry readings. Also, to be once again at Robyn Ringler's East Line Books, 1714 Route 9, Clifton Park (across from Snyder's Restaurant).

(photo by John Amidon, Veterans Day Parade, Albany, NY)