September 29, 2010

Poets Speak Loud!, September 27

This series has been resurrected at McGeary's down on Clinton Square in Albany, far from the Lark St. scene where it had a home at Tess' Lark Tavern since January 2005. We all hoped the Lark would rise again but, like the phoenix, we would never know what form it would take. But here we have a "room of one's own" as Virginia Woolf would put it & it worked just fine. (On a personal level I admit to pining over Nicole the waitress, but Meaghan was pretty & efficient & perhaps we too can build a lasting relationship.)

Tess Collins welcomed us back with kind words & hugs, then Mary Panza got down to the business she does so well, moving the poets along (if anyone can herd cats, she can). I started off with the able assistance of 2 suburban housewives (Jill Crammond Wickham & Carolee Sherwood) for my Coyote poems, whether or not people care about coyotes. The house was filled with Lark Tavern fans & regulars, like Joe Krausman, who read about his heart ("Biochemistry") & a prose poem about his Army days, "Before Inspection. Todd Fabozzi did a could of political poems, "The Machine" on Albany & a broader political rant on America.

North-country girl Jill Crammond Wickham had 2 hunting poems in anticipation of the season, "From the Deer Hunter's Handbook, or Advice to the Groom" & "Hunting Poem About Gutting a Carcass Already Bled Dry," in case you ever needed this information while wandering down Lark St. Josh McIntyre was much more simple with his short pieces, "Leaks" & "Night & Day." Carolee Sherwood began with an image of a yellow dress hanging on a fence downtown ("The Last Weekend in September"), then "From the Handbook for Surviving a Fall," 2 recent poems as should be evident from the titles.

Cheryl Rice began with a blissful story of "Halloween in Kingston" then on to the Roy Rogers inspired "Trigger at Auction" [from Tom Robbins' Even Cowgirls Get the Blues: "I told Dale, 'When I go, just skin me & put me on top of Trigger.' And Dale said, 'Now don't get any ideas about me'." -- Roy Rogers.] Tess Lecuyer began writing a sonnet that turned into a villanelle (naturally) for Lilly the weiner dog at the Albany WordFest. RM Engelhardt had 2 very serious poems, "The Procession" that he said is a response to/based on a poem by Thom Francis, than an older piece "When."

A special treat tonight were 2 poems by Robert who is the cook here at McGeary's, introduced as "Albany Poet's Big Daddy," who read 2 what could best described as "recovery poems," "The Unseen Enemy" & "My Pain" -- hey, who was watching the burgers? Bob Sharkey gave us a just-written invocation for this new venue, "The Poets" then a little prose piece, a faux memoir excerpt from Discursive about working as a kid in Maine. Marilyn Day introduced a new definition of the word draft by stating her poem ("Fire") "…is a draft because I haven't brought it to my critique group yet." Hmm.

The recently married Bless maybe got himself in trouble with some short borrowed lines about being married, then recovered enough with his right-on poem about our attitudes about being stuck in traffic, with its unsettling punch line. Avery's poem's title was like a poem in itself, the poem an enthusiastic rant about using your breath wisely, then the equally up-beat "From Me to You What Happens When You Smile" (Yes!).
 AC Everson ended the night with "Slice of Life" written last night, then a short piece about going through "the change." Like Heraclitus said, first you step into the Lark Tavern then it becomes McGeary's -- thank you Tess & all her marvelous staff.

Poets Speak Loud presented by every last Monday at McGeary's at Clinton Square (near where Melville lived), in the back room.

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