October 23, 2010

Third Thursday Poetry Night -- October 21

Once again the third Thursday rolled around & this month the featured poet at the Social Justice Center was Jacqueline Ahl, along with a fine collection of poets in the open mic. In honor of my recent visit to Gloucester & the Charles Olson Festival I played Willie Alexander's CD Vincent Ferrini's Greatest Hits & invoked the spirit of Vincent Ferrini as tonight's Muse reading his poem "A Good Harbor Tale".

It was good to see Jan Tramontano again on the open mic scene, just back from a road trip across America with her husband, & she read "At Land Between the Lakes" (a park between Kentucky & Tennessee) from on the road. Our "plummeting SUNY Classics professor" Sylvia Barnard read a short dream poem perhaps generated about the cuts in the humanities programs which have affected her personally. Bob Sharkey's poem was about found documents he picked up on the street, "Purge the Absolute," a dialogue. Golf season has ended so Anthony Bernini could join us again, reading his poem "The Warmth" that he read at WordFest. W.D. Clarke's "The Rhymer's Confession" takes off from a Robert Service poem (surprise!) & is his own personal manifesto.

Jacqueline Ahl began with "Diesel & Drums" that she described as her carpe diem poem, referencing Emily Dickinson & Walt Whitman, & a 2002 poem "Chronicle" on the ticking away of Life.  Her major work of the night was dramatic performance poem for 2 voices, "Mailman Falls in Love with Agoraphobic," which she performed with the assistance of Ray Faiola; the title is a quick summary, but the writing was full of sharp back & forth between the characters, postal puns & the eeriness of letters delivered years later.  She ended with a poem in multiple parts, "Choose Your Own Adventure," on the complexity of love & friendship -- know it well.  

After the break, I read a new poem that has been years in the imagining, a pastiche of the beginning of T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land," mine called "October Land," on the end of the baseball season. Moses Kash III followed with "The Ivory Tower" (about loving God) written in 1999. Carolee Sherwood read a rare, for her, political poem, "Boy Leaps from Burning Building," a moving piece from this mother of sons. Jason Crane ended our night with a poem "Inside my Head", another poem than the one on the page (while I was distracted outside with a woman looking for a homeless shelter he graciously ended the evening for us -- thank you Jason, but I think you forgot to say, "May the Muse be with you").

Every third Thursday at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, 7:30PM, $3.00 donation.

No comments: