January 18, 2009

Third Thursday Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center, January 15

The intense cold has been wreaking havoc with the poetry tour bus -- circling, circling like the hungry flocks of ravens. Actually, we could have used a few ravens for noise, but the poets (& an audience of attentive listeners) raised their own (barbaric) yawps over the roofs of the city. One advantage of a small crowd is that we all got to get back to our warm homes earlier.

In honor of our featured poet, I invoked the muse of e.e. cummings & one of his erotic sonnets from Paris, "i like my body..."

Sylvia Barnard has but a short walk to get her here. Her poem was "Clara's Funeral," a just written piece stitching her mother's funeral to her childhood memory of being in the front pew on School & College Sunday in 1953.

In contrast, W.D. Clarke had to search for a parking space among the frozen snowbanks. His "Solomon's Wisdom" recounted his great grandpa judge's decision in a court case. Check out his new book of poetry Soldier Ballads and Other Tales (InfinityPublishing.com, 2009) -- all the poems you've heard at open mics, & read about here on this Blog in your own hands.

I read my own take off on cummings with "A Million Statues" (I should post it here just for fun).

Our featured poet, NicoleK has an indelible affection for e.e. cummings ("be of love a little more careful than of everything..." ) yet her poems don't directly reflect his style, except in the sort of irreverent joie de vivire that cummings championed (heck, you don't have to copy a poet to give evidence of their impact on your life/art/whatever). She began with a an attack on the pre-packaged greeting card response to emotions, then moved on to a couple poems about a recent medical ordeal. Nicole is a confessed "foody," so then read some riddles to olive oil & garlic & a screed about Rachael Ray (gee, I hope I spelled her name correctly). Open mic poets seem pre-disposed to using "fuck" as an adjectival adverb so she had a few poems in that grammatical series: "I Fucking Hate Precipitation," "... When People Don't Use Their Blinkers," also, "Fuck the Dutch" (about the search for chocolate). She included one of my own favorite Saratoga Springs poems, about the Devil in the Starbucks there, & ended with her affirming "I'm not afraid of you..."

It was a warm, shall I say hot?, night of poetic camaraderie. But then that's what happens on the third Thursday, we do it every month at 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY (that is), at 7:30.

(If you haven't been there you can't be Metroland's "Best Poet".)