December 9, 2010

Live from the Living Room, December 8

It was a cold night outside in Albany but cozy in the Living Room of the Capital District Gay & Lesbian Community Center for the monthly straight-friendly poetry open mic, hosted by Don Levy.

The featured poet for the night was Cara Benson, who dedicated her reading to embattled folks in the Humanities at the NYS University at Albany, & to her sister, Donna. She began with a piece from Bharat Jiva by Kari Edwards (1954-2006). Cara's first, & longest, piece was titled "Spreek." It seemed to be made up of a number of sections on different themes &/or methods, incorporating quotes from V.I. Lenin & Madonna, using repetition, stutters, word lists, cliches, interrupted syllables, jumbled syntax, even a URL read character by character. Cara then read from her book, (made) (Book Thug), apparently flipping back & forth among sections, poems, linking them with the repetition of the refrain, "& the book begins…"

(The black & white photo is from September 2004 when Cara read in the open mic here, some of the same folks in the audience then as tonight.)

I started off the open mic, reprising "October Land" for Cara, then the recent "Looking for Cougars." Bob Sharkey read, as he is wont to do each Xmas season, Edna St. Vincent Millay's "To Jesus on His Birthday," then a bit in the voice of a homeless guy from his ongoing piece, "Discursive." W.D. Clarke brought us some of his rhyme in "The Christmas Tale," & "The Cheater" (those images of drain cleaner in a condom still make me wince).

A.C. Everson also had some rhymes for the season, reflections on shopping at the Mall & on her love of lawn decorations. Sylvia Barnard said her poems were "on weird scraps of paper" -- a dream poem of long-ago Albany, her piece in rhyme about the cuts to the Humanities programs at the University (including her job). Our affable host, Don Levy, concluded with 2 pieces from his ongoing poetic memoir of the QE2, "Iffy's" & "Meeting Ginsberg."

A relaxed, cozy, straight-friendly gathering on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at the GLCC on Hudson Ave. in Albany, NY. Bring some poems to read.

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