March 2, 2010

Poets Speak Loud, February 22

I have more fun at this monthly open mic than at just about any other around. Maybe it's the food at the Lark Tavern, or the drinks, or maybe it's my fantasy Nicole the Waitress -- could it be the poets? Nah!

Tonight the tag-team hosts were Thom Francis & Keith Spenser. & the first poet up was Sylvia Barnard with last week's "Ash Wednesday" & the companion "Easter Poem" filled with wind, tulips & Jesus Christ. I read an old poem, "Kissing Dina," from my new chapbook, then a new poem, "A Visit" (they were about 2 different people, if I didn't make that clear).

Don Levy rocked the house of unsuspecting diners with his "Underwear Boi Wonder," then, with Rob in the house, responded to one of his poems with "Hey This is My Street Corner You Poetry Skank." Jason St. Vincent Crane (he wanted to get the open mic folks to all sign up with "St. Vincent" as their middle name but didn't get here early enough (it's Edna Etc. Millay's birthday, if she were still alive); he did "I Am Not An Indian" & "Citizenship 101" which consisted of a series of commands -- good political pieces.

Tonight's featured poet, Carolee Sherwood, did all the right things: she brought her own crowd of friends & relatives (I mean, if they don't come to your readings, who will?). She is currently half of the President of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild & has been coming to lots of open mics, so it was a good chance to hear a big chunk of her work at once. She began ominously, with her husband in the audience, "Planning Hubbie's Funeral,' then into "Reasons to Stay Locked Up at Home". She read a cluster from a new poetry mss. she is putting together, including a group with "animals": "My Spirit Kamikaze" (a black bird), "Inspired by a Deer Carcass…", & "Godzilla Tears Up Main St. Castleton & Shows Me the Way Out." "Yield" was about growing apologies in a garden, followed by the instructions (which included a sword) of "How to Save Yourself." Leaving the mss., "What the Surgeon Couldn't Do" & "Definition" were on medical themes, which carried over into "A Love Poem." To Portland, OR for "Dinner at Deb's," then Picasso's great series of drawings about the Minotaur were the subject of "Minotaur Abducting a Woman" where the persona wants to be the woman beneath the Minotaur. "A Little Red Hen Has Pecked the Fence for the Last Time" seemed to return her to the themes of her opening poems. For her finale, "In the Porn Movie, The Poet Plays the Part of the Pizza Delivery Guy," she brought a local poet on stage (me!) to utter 2 lines, which I, being no actor, of course over-played -- it was great fun. Carolee is a fine poet & we are lucky to have her around & hope to hear lots more.

Tess Lecuyer has many fine poems about crows but tonight's 2 bird poems were not: "Strays" & one about pigeons & an owl, "City." Bob Sharkey ranged up & down the East coast with "Walk with Me in Portland" (Maine) & "For Her Metholated Spirit" at the Museum of Modern Art. Jill Crammond Wickham is the other half of the President of the HVWG & read 2 poems that she wrote together with Carolee, "The Eskimo Word for Woman is Abnack (? sp)" (where they used lines from Anne Sexton's poems), & a poem with a long title that Jill said I could just say was "The Kiss Me Mover Poem" that also was based on lines from other poets.

Julie Lomoe read her Blog entry on blogging & the changing tools for the artist to get her or his work out there, "A Starving Artist in a Viral Spiral."  Avery Stempl has become a regular with his social consciousness irony; "The Puzzle" which was his section from a longer, collaborative poem, then the rant "Meditation on the Super Sizing of America," which was sort of like kicking a dead cow.

You can read RM Engelhardt's poems "Lexicon" & "A World on Fire" on his website. As Charles Bukowski once said, "You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.” Shannon Shoemaker said she inherited her mother's tiny bladder & read "Bathroom," revised to include the Lark Tavern in its stops; "Summer Breeze" (sex) was a good way to end a Winter night.

Like I said, it's always a good time here on the last Monday of each month at Tess' Lark Tavern on Madison Ave. in Albany -- great bar food & beautiful waitresses.
Oh, & great poetry too!

1 comment:

caroleesherwood said...

thank you, dan. overacting was exactly the right maneuver for the role.

i had a lot of fun at the lark, as always! i look forward to it every month.