I drove down to the Boughton Place Theater in New Paltz for a tribute to the wonderful American poet (who unfortunately is no longer among us), Enid Dame (the photo is of Enid reading at Cafe Web in Albany in October 2000). Paul Clementi, who was the host & runs Read for Food events, is putting together a video from documentary footage of Enid reading her poems, including segments from the Poetry Motel interview I did with her back in 2000. Paul had planned to have copies of the DVD for sale, but was still working on the project. Instead we watched selections from my interview as well as footage of her & Donald Lev reading in New York City. It was good to hear Enid's poems again in her own voice, from her own image. Older generations talked about "seeing ghosts." Now we do it all the time through the magic of film & videos, photographs & audio recordings -- I ain't afraid of no ghosts!
John K started off the open mic with a celebration of light, love & life for Paul & his wife Jodi, then a couple of love poems to his late wife, & a catalog of nature & love. Fred Harris commented on the radio news, then recited just part of a longer poem. Frank Boyer began with a sad "Late Afternoon" written when the World Trade Center was still standing; other poems included a recently written one on reading in the Widow Jane Cave, "Was It All Like This" (a cell-phone poem), with a haiku thrown in there somewhere.
I read a couple of summer poems, "Cutting the Lawn for the Ex," & the recent "Respect," & ended with my tribute to Enid, "Lilith at Bloomingdales." Ted Gill read his typically quirky, rhymed poems, "April to December," a piece on feeling the dark descending, & the swords & lords ballad, "Matter of the Hounds." Paul Clementi read an excerpt from an introduction to a photo essay, "The Sherman Creek Power Station," then his latest poem, "Waiting for the Bullet," with an interesting conceit of comparing the mileage on his cars to the circumference of the Earth (24,902 miles at the Equator, if you must know).
Donald Lev is now doing what he calls "Sorts," based on the old practice of sortes, random searches of texts. He read a series of these short poems based on random verses in the Bible, "Old" & "New" Testaments, including a piece that compared some sushi to the towers of Tyre, one on the New York State Senate based on a passage in 2 Corinthians & the eery one on the death of Ted Kennedy (from 2 Kings 14:14). The poems were short, riffing off the text, & decidedly not spiritual. Robert Milby typically extends his reading time with a catalog of recent birthdays & with a poem by some dead poet, tonight it was Goethe & Apollinaire. He finally got to his own poems, "Where the Road Rage Begins" on the death of a friend & the violence in our society, & his most recent poem, "Cloud Hagiography."
It's a monthly event, the 4th Friday, 7 to 10 PM at the Boughton Place Theater in New Paltz; check the website or that of Read for Food for directions.