Our straight-friendly host, Don Levy, began with reading "Buffalo Bill" by e.e. cummings, whose birthday is today, & "90 North" by Randall Jarrell who died on this date in 1965.
The featured poet was Jason Crane, whose poems, he said, had been rejected by all the best poetry journals (sounds familiar). His poems are simply stated, straight-forward accounts of events in his life, like the neighbor's new baby coming home, or meeting family he hadn't know, or watching the election returns, even about his bookshelves. He read a long work in progress based in New Orleans that described the approach of hurricane Katrina; "Robbie Burns' Hat" on the annual "beret-toss" memorial ritual in Albany; & "Luxury Hotel" from his experience as a labor organizer. He also shared his love-poet side with "The Menagerie," a poem about meeting his wife, & the gentle narrative of love & sex, "The Soft Friction of Sliding Glass." Jason is also the master of The Jazz Session website, interviews with jazz players, reviews & musings.
I lead off the open mic with 2 jazz themed poems in Jason's honor, "The bass player's thoughts..." & "Acrostic Jazz," for Thelonious Monk. Bob Sharkey shared his thoughts on the first sight of his daughter & the fear of all that can wrong, then read "For Herself & her Soul" with images of autumn animals, geese & the war. Sally Rhoades was just back from a trip to Cyprus & included a poem about dressing up in words, being fashionable with books.
Thérèse Broderick's poem "Smile" was a word game using as many combinations of the letters in her title as she could come up with. Matt Galletta knows how much I like animal poems & so did his ironic "Shooting Cats." Don Levy, on the eve of his 49th birthday, read "Old Man Levy He Just Keeps Rolling Along," the poem he read recently at the UAG Gallery, but with a new title.
This is a cozy, intimate event each month, with a handful of poets gathered around, informally chatting, listening to poems, gossiping. I recommend it (on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center on Hudson Ave. in Albany, NY) knowing all too well that if everyone came to it, its character would change -- but then that's not necessarily a bad thing either, as Heraclitus once said.