October 9, 2009

Calling All Poets, October 2

I've been meaning to get down to the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon, NY for years, but this was my first time, & I was one of the featured readers. The building is a re-furbished library & is the first historic building in the Hudson Valley to go Geo-Thermal. There was an exhibit of photos of John Lennon & Beatles posters. Our host was Mike Jurkovic, a fine poet in his own write (as Lennon would say).

And I like to say I always enjoy hearing Guy Reed, the other featured poet. His poems are filled gloriously with the everyday, with his daughter ("Born Late") & with memories ("October Grey," "Upon Turning 39"), & has some marvelous titles, "How To Paint Like a 5-Year Old," "The Body Falling In Love," "Why I Don't Write Like Frank O'Hara." They are discursive, pensive & gentle, a pleasure to listen to. And I won't ever be able to go to fireworks without thinking of making up my own names for the different displays ("At the Fireworks").

I read second & did a mix of poems, some memory like "Going Postal," some recent like "Falling Asleep in Patchouli," some political (of course), & ending with a tribute to Tom Nattell, "Theology 101" & "Chasing Tom." I had fun & folks even bought some books at the break. Thanks!

Robert Milby was the host for the open mic; each poet did 2 or 3 poems. John Kenselaar read about Nature & love. Roberta Gould included a very old romantic love poem in her set, & the strange "The Mob Murdered my Meat Man". N. Wilson Enoch has published a novel & read narrative pieces; I was particularly impressed by the boyhood reminiscence "Poor Is Cold Feet in the Morning". Christopher Pinky Gazeent read the first poem he wrote, filled with youthful angst, of course, & some more recent pieces. Lynn Hoins' "Autumn Woman" raked leaves in the cemetery, & she included a couple poems to a painter friend.

I like when Cheryl Rice is on the sign-up sheet. She read "The World in Truth is a Wedding" and the memory poem "Driving Past the Corner" with the image of Henry Hudson setting out on his journey. Christopher Wheeling read a piece by another surrealist Peter Lloyd, then his own surrealist musings, mixing up John Lennon & asbestos abatement. Marissa Mourgues was the sexiest of the night, poetry as "only" words, like sex-teasing. Glenn Werner was perhaps the most formulist of the night, included a villanelle, & also had a poem about a painter. Robert Milby began with a poem by Wallace Stevens ("A Postcard from the Volcano"), then 2 Autumn poems of his own, "Visions of Autumn" & "Crow Weather."

Sharon Butler improvised a rant about living in a homeless shelter. Mike Jurkovic, one of the driving forces behind the Calling All Poets Series, said in one poem, "I come from a long line of weathermen..." & in another strung words like beads, & then commented on politics & poetry in "Color Code." Wanda Shafer's poems were intense, lapidary, reminding me somewhat of H.D., quoting Edna St. Vincent Millay in one. You had to pay very close attention & one hearing was not enough (it rarely is).

It was a fine evening filled with wonderful & varied open mic poets, both familiar & new to me. I was very pleased to have been asked to be one of the features, to share that spot with Guy Reed, & to perform under the watchful gaze of John Lennon. It's held every 1st Friday, at 8:00 PM ($4.00 admission includes refreshments), at the Howland Cultural Center, 477 Main St., Beacon, NY.


Chris said...

It's "Pinky," by the way, not "Pinley."


noiselessinfinity said...

Since we're doing corrections, FYI: her name is Sharon Butler.

Enjoyed the reading. Don't be a stranger; come on down the road when time and budget allow.