This is a new series that started about a month ago at the Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs, hosted by Margot Malia Lynch. What with the holidays & the puppet play Ubu Rex this is the first night I've been able to make it up there. The Putnam Den is a cavernous sports & games bar with 2 pool tables, big open floor space & a good sound system. There were few poets there, but some of the pool players & sports drinkers were in for a surprise when a poetry reading broke out. This reading is unique in having a rock band to backup the poets.
Margot started us off with "This is My Ritual," setting the mood (for some of us) with this poem about "air-fucking my living room floor..." I took the bait & did a couple of more raunchy poems: the new "Summer in California" & the just-published punk piece "Tritina." The band (drums, bass & lead guitar) did a good job of catching the mood & rhythm (first of a strip club, then of a punk band) without overwhelming the text. The bar-flies liked it.
Salik had read at the open mic at Caffe Lena this past summer & did a couple poems about personal spiritual development, "The Holy Gnosis" & "Room to Grow" (creating more prophets), doing the poems from memory standing still, his hands whirling, wheeling. Interesting work, somewhat out of place in this venue.
Throughout the night, with different poetic styles & voices, the band did a wonderful, respectful job of backing up each poet, & they seemed to enjoy it too. They were Chris Turano on drums, Marc Latzky on bass & James Gascoyne on guitar.
An interesting addition to the poetry scene. Give it a try -- every (!) Tuesday at the Putnam Den, 63A Putam St., Saratoga Springs, sign-up at 8:00 -- & there are drink specials.