July 13, 2010

Caffè Lena Open Mic, July 7

The usual host for this monthly open mic is Carol Graser, but tonight the guest host was Carolee Sherwood, a fine replacement for a dazzling night. She began with a poem by W.D. Snodgrass. I am rarely the first reader at this event, but for some reason the first slot was open when I arrived so I took it (Nature abhors a vacuum, or as Mr. Natural once said, "Vacuums suck"), so I read "At Garfield Park" in honor of the heat, then the new poem "On Reading a Poem by ee cummings."

Michael Rush's poems were conversations about the big philosophical issues. But Mike Burke's "Lakeside Rocks at Lookout Point" confronted some of the same issues of life & aging & death, but in images, not abstractions. Dennis Sullivan said his poems were on naming & consciousness, & paid tribute to the Nicaraguan poet Alfonso Cortés; "Along the Western Road" is dedicated to me, & of "A Person is an Impersonal Thing" he said, "worry is a lack of vision."

Todd Fabozzi read "They Put Mother Nature in a Cubicle,"& "Citizen Snitch" from his book, Crossroads. Tom Corrado strung along a series of non-sequiturs that included his 13-year old daughter & the Woodstock concert, "Eating a Footlong in the Car on the Way to Ballet." Obeeduíd (Mark O'Brien) explained that he was "going paperless", read a couple poems from his laptop & then had trouble with his device on the second poem.

Alan Casline ("Bird") was the featured poet, drawing some of the afore-mentioned readers from poets in the Voorheesville crowd, which his first poem, "A Moment" was about. He had little theme groups which he talked about, explaining his thoughts, his pensive musings often sounding like his soft-spoken poems. One of his un-stated themes was squirrels that included his popular flat-dead squirrel poem & one written for the Obama inauguration, "Sammy the Squirrel Gives a Stump Speech." Included also were poems about his father, & his son, & a cluster from his Grandfather Carp chapbook, & the ditty "Crow 2 to 4." HIs most recent was the July 4, "Memory Treks." Check out his work on his Blog.

Tonight's host, Carolee, paid tribute to the usual host & coordinator of this series by reading one of Carol Graser's poems, "Lost," from her fine collection from FootHills Publishing, The Wild Twist of Their Stems. Jason Crane followed with "Pumpkin," & a touching poem about his marriage proposal, "The Oak Tree." Barbara Garro showed up in a summer Saratoga hat & read a couple poems, including a pedestrian piece on "The Poverty of Poe." Nancy Denofio read a "day in the life" of her Sicilian grandfather, in lush colors. Jeanine Ouderkirk was back after a long hiatus with an untitled poem about a relationship told from 2 points of view, & another about her music, how vital it is to her life.

Alan Catlin's first poem was about working in a bar on the 4th of July after the fireworks downtown, then a tale of an earlier time working in an ice cream place, "Bonita & Clyde."
Marjorie Dorn's poems seemed ripped from the pages of a teen's journal, filled with angst & emotional conflicts, sometimes rhyming, sometimes not, dealing with the cruelty of labeling ("Can't Go On"), & with an outcast suicide, "As the Rain Pours." Both of Gordon Haymon's poems dealt with war & peace & were in rhyme. W.D. Clarke is a rhymer too, & he paid tribute to Canada's war veterans (specifically a 94-year old vet) in "Canada's Forces," then James Bond in rhyme, "A Secret Agent."

The ladies finished off the night. Marilyn Day's "This Poem Once Dripped with Passion" was a sexy list/chant, then she contrasted 2 points in time with "Provincetown Honeymoon, Florida Vacation." Therese Broderick read 2 poems about her daughter, new & old: her last soccer game, & "Milk" a haiku to her at age 1. Although a seasoned Albany poet, this was Sue Oringel's first time reading here; I'm not sure I've ever heard a poem about golf, moreover women's golf, as was her poem "Links," while "Bleeding Hearts" was from a series on clichés. Jill Crammond Wickham's first poem pondered age, while watching children playing in the lake, then responded to a sister-poet's poem, "You Think Your Clover Sad?"

This open mic, with a featured poet, is held each first Wednesday of the month at historic Caffe Lena, Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 7:00PM sign-up, 7:30 start, with the usual host, Carol Graser. Worth the trip.

1 comment:

Jason Crane | jasoncrane.org said...

I love that shot of Carolee, and the people reflected in the piano. Great photo, Dan.