June 22, 2010

Professor Java's Wide Open Mic, June 14

I arrived a little late from my duties with the board of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild (those co-presidents work us pretty hard) so I must've missed some poets (& some guitar players, since this is one of those open mics that includes poets with the guitar players, generally on a 3 to 1 ratio: guitar players get about 12 to 15 minutes, including taking the guitar out of the case, plugging it in, tuning up, doing a couple 3 minute songs, while poets do a couple or 3 poems for about 4 to 5 minutes -- which is the reason some of us started "poetry open mics" a number of years ago, so we could have "a room of our own" & not be the ugly step-child of the open mic scene).

Actually, "open mic" means more than poetry & song, as Austen Halpern-Graser reminded us, saying he was "doing stand-up" -- good thing, I thought he was sitting down. Carol Graser, the host of the Caffe Lena open mic, did a couple short poems, "Garden Collage" & "April Day 2010."

Keith Spencer, the host, was also celebrating his birthday (& inviting all the cute young girl guitar players to room 108), did what he said were 2 poems in 1, like, you know.

2 young poets were up next that Keith kept getting mixed up, first Sarah LaMountain with "Lines" on a page, then Danielle LaRose read "Muses" (which encouraged Keith to read his poem "Muse", a guitar-player fairy tale -- & was mercilessly heckled). Carol Jewel had 2 -- count them! -- 2 pantoums, "I Lost You" & "The Gold Finch". This was Steve's first time, you have to be so brave that first time, not sure what he thought he was getting into, his poem "Does Anyone Know Poe" in doggerel rhyme, making me wonder if he knows anyone after Poe? Dain Brammage also was trying to make sense, but in the Lark Tavern & from the pop music playing on the jukebox, then he settled in with a couple of haikus.

Carolee Sherwood tried out a new piece that sounded like a love poem, "One Afternoon Again," then the suburban disaster "Inspired by a Deer Carcass…" I followed with an old weather poem, "Rain" & the new poem "On a Poem by ee cummings" (which perhaps I'm reading too much lately). Avery did 2 long literary rants, the tribute to Allen Ginsberg "America in My Time," & "Good & Evil in the American Dream" on Hunter S. Thompson. Poetic Visions showed up to do his rhythmic, flowing piece on the voices of creation, "The Essence of Poetry," & his sermon on wealth versus becoming your dream, "Success Outside the Box," good thoughts but a bit too preachy for my taste. & speaking of preaching, Bruce Williams' (or Be Honest) piece "Living in Faith" was another sermon in poetic form.

Among the guitar player/singers who performed were Caroline Brown, Mary Leigh, Greg Gooba, & Erin Powers (my favorite of the bunch I heard). But by the end of the night it seems that the poets actually out-numbered the musicians. It's still too much to keep track of (I mean I don't know the difference between a G minor 7th & a g-string -- or, maybe I do?). As the sub-title of this Blog says, "…musings on the Albany (NY) poetry scene…" -- I can't do everything.

On the 2nd Monday of each month, up on Wolf Rd. in Colonie, at Professor Java's Coffee House, 8PM.

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