The "official un-official start of Albany WordFest." In honor of our featured poet, Paul Pines, our muse for the night was Paul Blackburn (1926 - 1971); I read one of his poems from the 1974 issue of Sixpack, the Paul Blackburn Issue, which also included Paul Pines' poem, "Adios Pablo."
Alan Catlin, as he frequently does, started us off, & tonight with an "older" poem, "Death in Venice," another grim/funny bar story. Bob Sharkey's poem was about seeing the Sun Ra Arkestra up a the Lake George Jazz Weekend. Which was a good segue to jazz-commentator & musician, Jason Crane, who read "Amputee," about not playing his sax. Just back from New Mexico, Alan Casline read a poem/journal entry he wrote in Santa Fe. "Delightful" Don Levy read a how-I-spent-my-Easter poem, "Bloody Marys & Drag Queens."
Marsh Hawk Press, 2009). He began with the rich, incantatory "Bread," then on to some Tin Palace poems. I remember seeing the drummer Jimmy Lovelace hanging out there ("Regarding the Percussionist") & an array of "Bass Players" to which Paul paid homage, & Hilton Ruiz ("Art of Memory"). Of course "Roaches" are a part of any bar experience, & Paul dedicated his poem "Bar Time" (about other places in the East Village I remember) to fellow "brother of the stick" Alan Catlin. He ended with the recent poem, "Hello from Nola," about being in New Orleans for Mardi Gras dressed as Jesus (or Moses, or Bacchus, etc.). Who would have thought back in 1976 I'd be here in Albany introducing Paul Pines at a poetry reading in the Social Justice Center -- longevity has its values.
Another great night at the Social Justice Center, every Third Thursday, 7:30 PM, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY