May 10, 2010

Albany Poets Presents!, May 4

We were exiled to the cavernous, vacant, dark, odiferous upstairs at Valentines while a band flogged away downstairs. We had about the usual bar-hanging crowd, but now we were out on the steel fire escape for air & light (& warmth -- it was actually warmer outside than in the bar), in an old factory looking setting with the olfactory stimulus of pizza & oven smoke. Poems are so hard to write about smells. But there is something about bad environments that seems to bring our spirits closer (or are we just afraid?).

I tried to fit my poem "Dina's Hummingbird" to the thundering of the drums in the club below, then read for the first time my new poem commemorating Kent State & Jackson State (1970) "44,000."

RM Engelhardt, in a Dick Tracy hat pulled over his eyes like Beetle Bailey, read a couple of manifestos, one from 1928, the other his own manifesto, "Immortalis … The Last Poem."

Ed Rinaldi's poem "I Don't Mind Claiming These Pages" piled up race horses & jazz & pot, followed up by the very short "The Water Spray" & "Old Home New Road."

Some of the women poets here tonight didn't read, but dear Prudence wandered up bored from the bar below to read a silly tossed offed piece about patchouli & sex , then quickly retreated -- at least, as the song says, she came out tonight.

Actually, Jason Crane's first poem ("Red Is") was about one of the poets in the gallery, but "Insane Clown Pose" was, he said, not about the band.

Jill Crammond Wickham read a poem about Spring & crows fucking, then one of her "June Cleaver" series, this about whipping a souffle with strangers in her kitchen -- or did I get that mixed up?

This is usually the first Tuesday of the month at Valentines on New Scotland Ave. usually downstairs, but then we're poets, we go where we are towed.

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