June 3, 2010

Poets Speak Loud! -- Benefit for Tess' Lark Tavern, May 24

We were supposed to have the monthly open mic at the Lark Tavern, but it had the audacity to burn down, so we were upstairs in Valentines with good sound, Howie at the upstairs bar, & Mary Panza the host. Lots of folks turned out, including some new faces/voices in the open mic.

Michael Purcell was first up, & he quoted Oscar Wilde & Buddha before his poems, the anthropological "Labels" & the meditation on death, "Your Reward." Alan Catlin did a couple of poems from his past life as a bartender, "A Different Planet for Bartenders" & "A Black Widow" (a drink recipe poem from his Killer Cocktails book). Sylvia Barnard ascended the stage (with gentle help from RM Engelhardt, generating more rumors about their pending engagement) to read her tribute, "To Tess' Lark Tavern," which if Sylvia's apartment building had a backyard, the Lark Tavern would be in it.

Rob was also there to help Don Levy get on stage, generating even more romantic rumors -- lucky Rob! Don read a cartoon rant, "Ziggy Family Peanuts" then the exciting "Adventures of Jason's Bag as Told by his Publicist" (which one can find in the Notes section on Don's Facebook page -- what do you mean you're not his Facebook friend yet?!). The "other" Tess, Tess Lecuyer, continued the themes of the night with the sonnet "On Jason's Bag" & the nod to Wallace Stevens, "13 Ways of Looking at the Lark." RM Engelhardt, an "incessant promoter" per Mary Panza, read "The Night at the Lark" then the philosophical lecture, "No Surrender."

Jason Crane's poem was about a female poet at the mic, "The Last Siren" followed by the tribute, "Lark Definitions." The first of the night's new faces/new voices was Leslie with 2 relationship poems, "It's Been a Year" & "Why Can't You?." Another new face, "Quick" tried out a recent poem only 2 hours old, then an untitled piece about the beauty of women. I followed with a summer, hot weather piece, "Park Fantasy," then a my new tribute, "The Lark Tavern Poem."

We almost had the fire department in when Thom Francis brought out a birthday cake for Mary Panza, candles a-blazin' but the cake was delicious. Carolee Sherwood began with her tribute, "Ode to Tess' Lark Tavern," then dazzled the audience with her little porn-pizza-poet theater piece she first did at the Lark Tavern a few months ago, tonight the lines acted by me as the pizza-boy & Nicole Kearby in the role of the seductive housewife (I had wanted a couple hours rehearsal time but Nicole declined & Carolee said it wasn't necessary). Jill Wickham followed with a couple of her signature suburban housewife poems, the first in her June Cleaver mode, "Watching a Funeral Procession..." (it was dark & her titles are very long so I didn't get it all, sorry), & love alone in "Mother Walking."

Carol Graser made the trip down to Albany; she read 2 "quick poems," both untitled, the first a dream with a golden eagle, the second about the colors of the sky. Bob Sharkey also had a dream poem about sex & being in a dress (poetry, it's cheaper than a psychiatrist), & then a fine political/jazz poem, "Meditation in Orange, In Indigo, Letters to Abbey Lincoln & Stan Getz." Daniel Nester read false translations of Erasmus from "The Adagia Project" then an old NYC piece, "Mott St. Pastoral" (which I'm sure I've heard before). It turns out that the birthday cake would serve double duty, as Avery Stempel said yesterday was his birthday as well as Mary's; while he read his beer poem, "Bottled Labled & Ready for Distribution," I kept trying to make out the drawings on the reverse of the pages.

AC Everson said that she has lots of pieces she has read at the Lark Tavern & shared a couple, including "Echoes & Traces" about "re-cycled places," e.g., Arthur's Market in Schenectady. "Poetic Vision" recited a couple poems that I think I heard him do at the Albany WordFest, his "upside down/inside out" poem & another were God gives him a pen. Then Mojavi did a couple of his relationship poems, showing 2 sides, one the heat & violence, the other trying to love in the right way. D. Alexander Holiday repeated the poem by Susan Griffin, "I Like to Think of Harriet Tubman," he had read last Thursday night & his own poem about about finding out that the records of his life had been lost, "Death by Fire."
The last reader was Tanesha, another new face & voice, with a compelling piece on urban decay, "What Became of Eden" (observing that there are "no black angels here"), & the self-assertive, "Letter to the Brother who Tried to Get At Me at the Corner Store."

Quite a night at the Lark Tavern, I mean Valentines standing in for the (recovering) Lark Tavern, & a testiment to the dear place that the Lark has in our arts community. Until it does reopen the series held there on the last Monday of each month, "Poets Speak Loud," will not be held. For more information about other poetry events in the meantime, check out the calendar at the AlbanyPoets website. Also, there are tons of pictures from the event at Keith Spencer's Flickr site http://www.flickr.com/photos/kjspencer/

1 comment:

Keith J. Spencer said...

many thanks to you for mentioning and sharing my photo link. I always look forward to reading your blog. I'll be posting the photos from the Walt Whitman reading soon (in a few minutes actually). hope you're enjoying yourself.