July 1, 2010

Sunday Four Poetry, June 27

I was late getting to the Old Songs Community Center in Voorheeville, having been at the Old Songs Festival in nearby Altamont, a volunteer at the Beer Tent. So I missed a bunch of open mic poets & I can only surmise who they were from looking around the room. But Father Dennis Sullivan was reading as I got there, with his sensitive, thoughtful, well-tuned poems (one of the reasons I go back there most months of the year).

Larry Rapant read 2 poems, outrageous images of history in "Tune for the Misbegotten," & the rhyming poem, "The End of the Affair," both in his non-family style poetry. Edie Abrams was doing the introductions & read her poem "On the Arts," a meditation on the collision of emotionally moving art with political prejudice. Mike Burke's poem "Lakeside Rock", was also a meditation on the long life of Life & the short life of our own existence, or as they used to sing on Fraggle Rock, "pass it on." Alan Casline read from his 2009 Chapbook, Grandfather Carp (bRAINdROP bOOKbENDERS) "Woods Popular Natural History, 1920," "Doubts On the Way," & one for Dennis Sullivan, "A Step in Our River's Stair." Then I brought up the rear with 2 new(!) poems, "Poem" (copying Frank O'Hara) & "Some Morning."

The afternoon's featured poet (& the reason for my frantic rush from the beer tent) was Mary Kathryn Jablonski. As folks know, I published (under the A.P.D. imprint) her 2008 chapbook, To the Husband I Have Not Yet Met. Her well-crafted reading combined, as she said, some "very new poems, couched with older poems." She began with one responding to an incident in 2007 where poet Josh McIntyre proposed to Beatriz Loyola onstage at Caffe Lena, "UG2BKM" (trans., You've Got To Be Kidding Me), then to "Letter 1" of the Husband poems, a good transition. "Scarlet Tanager" brought in one of her frequent images, astronomical features, while the following poem "Girls Washing Eggs" linked back to the bird image. Family memories, as images of loss, or regret, or of time passing, made up "Elderberries" (her Polish grandmother Sophia) & "Josephine Sky" (her mother), with "Letter 10" in between, to complete the complicated weave to the last poem, a loving Valentine to her new husband, "Sequel, A Thousand Times" complete with references back to her Husband poems, & to the first poem she read, a counter to her cynical reaction to a marriage proposal. Not only has Mary Kathryn's poems matured, but so has her skill in putting together a reading that is engaging & fresh, without tiring.

This series is taking a break for the Summer but will be back in September. Look for it on the 4th Sunday of each month, 3PM, in Voorheesville, at the Old Songs Community Center.


Anonymous said...

From Therese -- I agree that Mary's readings are always worth the trip. I arrived late because I failed to remember that the back road from Albany to Voorheesville was closed.

Anonymous said...

That road (Krumkill Road) will be closed until some time in September.