November 30, 2010

Sunday Four Poetry, November 28

A pleasant gathering of poets at the Old Songs Community Center in Voorheesville, NY.  Mike Burke did the intros.

I was first up & began with "Labels & Names," an audience-participation piece in recognition of World AIDS Day on December 1, then the new poem, "My Birds Poem of Thanks."  Tim Verhaegan's poems ranged from the reverential "Arthur's Ashes," to the screed "You Chose This," to the wonderfully funny "Wrestling with the Xmas Tree."  Mimi Moriarty said she had "3 poems with critters," a coyote & other natural things to name ("Science Student"), becoming a squirrel ("On My Deck"), & 2 dead squirrels on the same day ("Road Kill" -- the first of the day's road kill poems).  

Dennis Sullivan changed the tone with his philosophical meditations "Self-Portrait for Dr. Brody" & "As Cozy as the Homes in House Beautiful."

The "best-dressed poet" of the afternoon, Obeeduid (Mark O'Brien) read from his (not-always-cooperative) iPad, a couple outdoors poems, "Hilltop Visitation" (cf. Alan's poem later) & "Declination."  It was John W. Abbhul's first time here (he is the caretaker/manager of nearby Pine Hollow Arboretum), & contrasting himself with Mark, read a poem from a small slip of paper, "Spirit" just written this morning.  Therese Broderick referenced the bird poem I read & the Writers' Digest Poem-a-Day project for November by saying she's writing "a metaphor a day," then read 2 pieces composed of these metaphors strung together (isn't that what a poem is anyways, a series of metaphors strung together?).

Mike Burke invoked the droit de seigneur to insert himself in the mix before Tom Corrado, & because he will be in Mexico in February read the cold weather/cold heart poem "Valentine's Day."  Tom Corrado had read his poem "A History of the World in 4-Line Feeds" here before, but said it was an "assemblage" that he keeps adding to, so like a movie serial he read from where he left off the last time.  Howard Kogan returned to the philosophical meditation theme with an unbeliever's rant, "About God."

Alan Casline had fresh, just-off the press copies of The Rootdrinker Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, with poems (including a cluster of mine) originally published in the pages of the Rootdrinker Newsletter.  Check out his Blog for information on how to get a copy.   His poem "In Exile" was more philosophical pondering, from a literary conference in Buffalo, while "Loggerhead Rises from a Swamp" was from his walk in the woods with Mark (see above).

Joe Krausman's poem also fell into the philosophical pondering theme, but with ironic humor, the first on synchronicity & the randomness of chance meetings, the second on being prepared, with a pen, a gun, a hankie, a Bible, etc.  Sharon Stenson's poem "Roadkill" returned us to another them that Mimi had introduced.

Dennis Sullivan introduced this afternoon's featured poet, Marion Menna, by describing her poems as being about daily life, which was a good way to write my Blog for me.  While that is certainly an apt summary, there is more to her themes than that.  She began with her first published poem, from 1983, "Rarities," about beached whales.  Her poems are often vivid descriptions such as the Advent poem, "Catkins," & "Tsunami March 2010" & "The Dogs of Trinidad."  Continuing with the day's animal sub-theme, she had a new poem with geese on a prison yard, "Sanctuary" & another new poem, "Dislocation," with wild turkeys.  A couple poems included her son, & even a poem with nuns (in the Himalayas), "Quieting the Self."  She ended with a selection from her chapbook, An Unknown Country (Finishing Line Press).

I often (too often some would say) tell poets that if your friends & relatives don't come to your reading who will?  So to Marion's credit there were many friends from her writing group not only filling the audience but reading in the open mic, helping to make this a pleasant afternoon of poetry.

Fourth Sunday of most months, 3PM, The Old Songs Community Center, 37 S. Main St., Voorheesville, NY, a modest donation to pay the feature & support Old Songs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

from Therese L. Broderick -- Dan, to answer your question: If one agrees with Jay Parini's statement that every word was once a metaphor, then all language (poetry included) is a string of metaphors. If one restricts the term "metaphor" to only deliberately artful figures of speech, then one could argue that poetry should be a string of metaphors. But many pieces of writing or performance called "poetry" don't use metaphors; their "poets" might argue that metaphor is not necessary for poetry.