November 3, 2008

Poets Speak Loud!, October 27

The last Monday of the month gathering at the Lark Tavern, with Mary Panza as our host(ess).

I had been there early for dinner so signed up first & read "The Lady Bishop" (published last year in Gender on Our Minds out of Southern Connecticut State University) & the tiny "Channelling Richard Brautigan." Sylvia Barnard followed me, commenting on the Episcopal Church's selection of a woman Arch Bishop that my poem had been about, then read "To My Father at his 110th Birthday" or what would have been.

One of my favorite pastiche writers, Shawn Baxter, did a version of WCW's "This is just to say..." but with a pumpkin instead of plums, then he provided us with a list of "Ineffective Ways to Kill a Zombie" (Halloween around the corner). Todd Fabrozzi read 2 poems, "Mutants" & "Holes & Poles" from his book, Umbrageous Embers.

Tonight's feature was free-lance journalist & Metroland columnist, Miriam Axel-Lute. She read "a mix of old & new," beginning with responding with kindness in a "Prayer for the Evangelist on the D Train." Then "Mezuzah on 181st St." (perhaps where she was going on the D train). Other poems included "Westport Graveyard," a couple poems for her young daughter, a poem by slam poet Marty McConnell ("After All of this, Fire"), "Apartment Heat," "Living Close Together," and, ending loud!, "Karma." I like Miriam's work with it's images from the world of real things & her political/cultural engagement & I've featured her in my Third Thursday series. While a "performance poet" she is that in the best of terms, where the performance does not overwhelm (or has to) the poem.

Frank Robinson performed his ironic "Rant" perhaps for one of the last times, under the patriotic bunting. Speaking of poems that may (hopefully) not be performed much longer, Don Levy read "Rubbing Noses with Sarah Palin;" before that he caused some audience members to lose all composure with his reading of the oh-so-gay "Why I Never Had a Foreign Affair."

Chris Brabham's booming bass voice is perfect for his "A Sentimental Cannabalist" & the popular "The Angel of Death Unplugged." William Eng writes his poems right there in the audience, as he did tonight with a poem about a family gathering, "301 Lakeview Road," & one about his first Halloween, hidden & watching. Shannon Shoemaker ended the night with the relationship poem, "Confession" & some notations from a "Night Alone in a Bar."

Sponsored by AlbanyPoets.com, at the Lark Tavern on Madison Ave., Albany, NY.