January 18, 2009

Live from the Living Room, January 14

A cozy night with the warmth of friends while the cold sat down outside like a Bank of America CEO's cold, hard ass. This is always an intimate gathering, more so tonight. Poetry, conversation about workshops, sharing anecdotes, advice & admonishments. The sign-up sheet was there but unessential. Don had suggested an "old" & a "new" poem for the New Year, with the option of reading one of our old favorites. As always, assignments are meant to be be missed or ignored. However, my good Catholic upbringing made me pay attention. Wandering recently in the Albany Public Library I found a book I hadn't seen before, the 2007 New Directions Poetry as Insurgent Art by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. It's a little pocket-sized edition of the great poet's thoughts on poetry & its role in our lives, beyond the self-centered staring into the stars, but then that too. So I read his "Populist Manifesto" (which you can find in some of his earlier collections); then my own birthday poem from last January, "Shaken, Stirred."

TimV provided a lot of the impetus for conversation, & gossip. He read, with admiration, Letter 2 from Mary Kathryn Jablonski's To the Husband I Have Not Yet Met (A.P.D., 2008), then his own recent piece about tossing away a "Marijuana Cookie."

Therese Broderick's experience with workshops was helpful in our discussion. She read 2 of her own pieces, her new, inauguration poem ("verses organized in 2 parts..."), then a poem about a black & white photo, "Kitchen Light".

Our friendliest host, Don Levy, read from a 1956 anthology, 15 Modern Poets, the great Muriel Rukeyser's "Nun's in the Wind;" then his own "new, new" poem, hopefully Don's last George Bush poem, "Lame Duck Lays an Egg," with it's refrain, "quack, quack, quack."

& there is room to mention the other, non-reader in attendance, Kevin Bruce, adding the particular flavor of his chuckle & his smile.

Always the 2nd Wednesday of each month at the GLCC on Hudson Ave., in Albany, & always "straight friendly."