Poems -- & musings on the Albany (NY) poetry scene. "It's not the Truth, but it's pretty darn close."
March 13, 2010
Split this Rock Poetry Festival, Thursday, March 11
I did my workshop, How to Build a Poetry Reading, this AM in the front room of the Thurgood Marshall Center. There were about 10-12 folks, including the late arrivals, many from the DC area, where there apparently are lots of readings/open mics/slams already. Toni Asante Lightfoot joined me in sharing her experience running poetry events.
Hung out having lunch & typing at Busboys & Poets, then took some time off before heading to the Poetry in the Streets event in Upper Senate Park, beneath the shadow of the Capitol. A string of poets threaded our way to the stage to each recite one line of poetry, limited to 12 words, a Cento sending a message of peace & "get off your collective asses & end the war" to the members of Congress. Check out the poem at the Split this Rock Blog. Hanging out with new friends, re-connecting with old friends. My picture ended up in the pages of the Washington Post the next morning. You can also check out photos by the omni-present photographer, Jill Brazel, on the Split this Rock Facebook page & on their website.
Time for dinner & a drink & then back to the Bell Multicultural High School for the evening's reading. Mark Nowak gave a reading with slides, touching on the Sago mine disaster & mining accidents in China, in what is being called documentary poetry. Lillian Allen, who lives in Canada, performed her poems in the tradition of "Dub poetry," reggae rhythms & the early roots of hip-hop. She took on the lingo & dance rhythms of the islands, mixing in sound patterns with the words, in such poems as "Limbo Dancer," poems about women in prison, in housing projects & giving birth, even a love poem ("would love to make a revolution with you").
Francisco Aragon's poem were mostly short, evoked the spirit of Garcia Lorca & Ernesto Cardenal. His poems to us "To Madrid," & Rome ("The Tailor"), & a strange slant translation of Rilke, "Torso." Nancy Morejon is from Cuba (& the Cuban ambassador was in the house). She read her poems in Spanish, then in translations done by others, often touching on the Afro-Cuban themes of slavery & oppression, but in the rich, colorful images often found in poetry from the Caribbean.
Once again, a wonderful, full night of poetry, but run well, the readings moving along with variety & judicious sense of time. More detailed informaton about each of the poets can be found on the website.
Host of the Third Thursday Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center in Albany NY, member of 3 Guys from Albany, & photographer who has "the world's largest collection of photos of unknown poets." Active member of Veterans for Peace. For listings of upcoming poetry events see the calendar on www.albanypoets.com.