Some folks have emailed me & others have commented on my Facebook site about the Metroland "Best of..." issue so I feel the need to set the record straight. Those of you in the Capital District of NYS are familiar with this annual "rite of almost-Spring" where readers of the tabloid local entertainment weekly get to vote on the area's "best" optician, "best" sportscaster, "best" priest -- you get the idea.
Well, they even have a "Best Local Poet" category, if you can believe that. A perennial winner has been poetry impresario & host of the currently re-vitalized "VΩΧ" series at Albany's Fuze Box, R.M. Englehardt. This year Rob was #3 on the list, with Mary Panza in the #1 slot & me (!) as #2. Rob, as is only right, has been #1 many years. I've made the list before; I think last year I was in a 3-way tie for 3rd place. Once in a while some poet ends up on the list who has never even shown up at an open mic or reading in the area. I mean, if you've got a big family you could win any category you want, best florist, best Ethiopian restaurant, best President, whatever. But Mary, Rob & I are all active in the poetry community so it is no surprise that we end up on the list once in a while.
This year, through some hazardous investigative poetry/journalism/dumpster-diving/trash-humping (oh, maybe not trash-humping, that's something else) I've gotten the final count on this year's "Best Of..." categories & the results are astonishing.
Rob Englehardt got 3 votes. Now I must confess that I always vote for Rob & this year I voted twice (hey, it's an Albany tradition to vote often): once as myself, & again under a pseudonym (fake name), so I guess that the 3rd vote must be Rob's.
According to my count I got 4 votes (all that was needed to go ahead of Rob's 3), & I know none were mine because, like I said, I always vote for Rob. So Thank You! to all those 4 unknown people that voted for me (I have 4 kids but only 1 lives in the area so I have no idea who could've voted for me).
I lost track of Mary Panza's votes there were so many, but obviously she had at least 5 votes. You know, she has a big, Italian family & once worked as a bar-tender, & her kid is in daycare, so she knows a lot of people. And she deserves it, even if it was only 6 or 7 votes.
So, I hope Mary gets her token, since I never got mine. You know, as my father would say, "that & a token gets you on the bus."
Thank you Metroland! & all those citizens for voted for us.