Those of you who know my cranky self know what I think of "poet laureates" & how we would be better off with global warming, nuclear war, or even the Rapture than with a Poet Laureate of (almost) anything. But I must humbly admit that a Poet Laureate of a (working class) bar with a designated "Poet's Corner" seems about the right kind of domain for such a dubious distinction fraught with contention & envy.
The end result was that the readings progressed quickly, with a short break between the first 2 rounds & a 40-minute break before the final round. There were rhymes, Nature/Spring poems, humor, sex, love/not love, vegetable humor, politics, & mercifully few dog poems. There were familiar poets, some rarely seen, & new faces I would love to see more of at any of the local open mics.
The competing poets were Jill Wickham, Rachel Ikins, Philomena Moriarty, Tim Verhaegan, Mark O'Brien, Tim Lake, Barbara Vink, Alan Casline, Mimi Moriarty, Melinda Mackesey, Cathy Anderson, Joanne Lounsbury, Jim Williams, Carol Graser, Jason Crane, Larry Rapant, Howard Kogan, Carolee Sherwood, Michelle Przbylek, & Bob Sharkey.
It was only after the scoring was over that it occurred to me that it would be fun to have a pool of the audience on the winning poet (& a way to pay for lunch) -- it was the kind of thing where it was anyone's bet. But the winner, the Smith Tavern's Poet Laureate, was someone who could have secured that title without going through the bureaucratic rigamorole of the reading (but then we wouldn't have had so much fun).
Blog-mistress. If anyone had asked me (but then, who did?) who should be the Poet Laureate of Smith's Tavern (hell, of Voorheesville), I would have cast an early vote for Barb Vink.
The second place was no surprise either: Carolee Sherwood has been overwhelming us locals with her poems at open mics as well as blasting cyberspace through Facebook & her website. Howard Kogan from Stephentown, NY was the third place winner; he confessed to this being his first time heading west into poetry country when I spoke to him during one of the breaks, one of a number of new voices that showed up to compete.
Congrats to Barb, Carollee & Howard -- & thanks to all the poets who competed for making
it so much fun on a Sunday afternoon -- as my First Sergeant once said, it was better than church.