November 18, 2008

Jawbone, November 14

The last in this semester/season's series, with our commanding host, Mary Panza.

Ed Rinaldi, thanks to some poetry & writing courses, has been coming out to the open mic scene a lot lately, so it was fun to hear him in a full, stretched out session. Most of his poems are short & he had me scribbling away in my notebook trying to keep up. Refreshingly, he touched on the everyday themes that get lost sometimes -- high school memories, love (for his wife, children), "divinity type poems" as he says (but the undercurrent of spirituality ran through most of his work), writing in quiet, & an interesting series personifying Summer & Autumn. Sometimes he described his poems as like picking scabs ("Unfettered Memories"), another time they "oozed". And I liked the phrase, "drinking from the cup of trembling...").

On the professorial end of the program, Chris Funkhouser returned to Albany from New Jersey where he teaches at New Jersey Institute of Technology. Chris was a part of the Albany poetry scene back when he was a graduate student here in the early 1990s. His work tonight was combined video from Sao Paolo, with morphing text movies, music & Chris reading his texts. In this age of TV & video games the advantage of such work is that we (visually) pay attention, even when the images repeat in endless variations. But I think the downside is that the text itself gets lost, the words become a barely perceived sound-track. But the art keeps expanding, stretching the possibilities & Chris's work tonight was an engaging example of that.  (The photo shows Chris on the right, with Don Byrd & friends.)

Hopefully, Jawbone & Poetry @ the UAG (with the able coordination & logistics from AlbanyPoets will be back next semester. Stay tune.