December 11, 2008

Live from the Living Room, December 10

The birthday of Emily Dickinson & the 40th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, though neither got mentioned in the flurry of poems. Don Levy our host, as always here.

The featured poet, Mary McCarthy, former president of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild, continues to energize the Guild through her involvement & gentle nudging, but she doesn't read her work out very much. Her poems are usually short, drawn from everyday experienc, & often tinged with humor. A good example is the first poem she read, "Heights," about being short. Then a description of being on the beach, "West Dennis at Dawn." A prose poem on "the holidays" was really about Time & on the real values. Then she was joined by her husband, Kevin McCarthy (a poetry virgin), to do "A Reminiscence in 2 Part," about being in a snowy Colorado for Thanksgiving, Kevin reading "What we said," while Mary's part was "What I thought" -- the kind of clash of obligation, politeness & our own needs that occur so often, more so in the holiday season. Her poem "To Kevin" has her calling his old phone number (& getting no answer), then an old Valentine's poem, "Searching," that she never got to read here. Both the list poem, "Living Dangerously," & "Peace" were compiled of the details of daily life that are such treasures, with the former poem threaded with humor as well. Finally, "This is for you.." for all of the poets, those who pull out of magical hats great "scarves of words." Thank you Mary, & for you too.

After the break, Kristen Day read her funny rant, "5 Things that Irritate Me at a Poetry Reading" -- many heads nodding in agreement. Anne Decker hasn't been around in years, it seems, did a funny rhyme, "Christmas Depression," a la Ogden Nash. Mimi Moriarty's "Christmas Snapshot" was about her father's last Xmas visit, & "Circle" was about Xmas cooking, coming full circle to with her mother.

Roberta Gould has been featured here in this series & has a new book of poems, Louder Than Seeds (FootHills Publishing), & read 2 poems from it, "Scenes" & the 4-part "Ironies." I followed with 2 new poems spinning off from Buddhist readings: the somewhat inaccurately titled "Samsara in the Orange Room" & the meditation on "The Eternal Moment" (both works in progress).

Another surprise appearance tonight was the much-missed Debbie Bump, no longer from Schenectady, with thoughts on road-kill ("Eulogy for a Frog") & the childhood memories of a friend, "To Catch a Butterfly." Uncle Don closed out the night with one of his own & one by Frank O'Hara. His newest poem is "Mexico Bar Dream," where I make an appearance (as Bob Dylan once said, "You can be in my dream if I can be in your dream"). The Frank O'Hara poem was the early "Poem" ("The eager note on my door..."), read from an old Grove Press edition from 1957.

An intimate, straight-friendly gathering on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center, 332 Hudson Ave., Albany, NY.