January 25, 2011

Third Thursday Poetry Night, January 20

The first in this series for the new year & a good turnout on a cold night in the great Northeast. I invoked the muse of Janine Pommy Vega, gone from us too soon, then on into the open mic.

Dennis Sullivan was up first, & leading the group from the Voorheesville poets there to support the night's featured poet; his poem "A Black & Voiceless Day" had more hope than what the title implies. Alan Casline left some free broadsides for us & read the short poem, "The Gods Are Your Parents." Mark (Obeedude) O'Brien's poem, "Pitching Woo," an old term being used again, ponders the fragility of conception. Joe Krausman's "Couvad" is from his "anthropology series" with characteristic humor & unexpected rhyme. Therese Broderick's newest poem was about a wooden ruler found in a draw, "Great Rulers."

This was our featured poet, Edie Abram's, first feature, even though she has been writing poetry for years, & co-hosting the Sunday Four Poetry series. I was pleased that I made it happen. Many of her poems were about her background as, she described it, "a New York City Jew," in fact, her reading was framed by poetic memories of her grandparents, beginning with "Grandpa's Hands" & ending with the rambling family-memoir, "Dona Sarah." Other family poems included "Damn You George Santayana" about some escaping Europe leaving others behind, and a tender poem about her aging mother giving up rules. But her poems also talked about herself in sometimes the most personal ways, often tinged with wry humor, such as "A Matter of Perspective" about the aftermath of cancer surgery, "Next Time" about fibromyalgia, getting ready for a party in "Stepford Wife," & the luxurious, sensual "Edie's Mikvah." She included her pets in poems about walking in the woods with her dog, & another about the pets crawling into her bed during a thunderstorm. Other poems were "David on Micki's Death" & "Courage" (about the gift of a compass). In "Lot's Wife" she boldly confronted God's inhumanity to mankind. It was a pleasant ramble through the life & memory of this wonderful local poet.

After the break I re-started the open mic with my poem built from newspaper accounts of a 2006 shooting, "Secrecy Guards Oldest Pine As Town Mourns School Killings Family Urges Kindness." Tom Corrado read from his ongoing serial poem, "Scripts for Today," expressed in what I used to think of as non-sequiturs, but might better be described as meta-sequiturs.

Perhaps the biggest "hit" of the night, based on audience chatter afterwards, was Danielle Colin, with her moving poem about a woman she saw on the bus, "Washington & Fairfield Inn Next Stop," a meditation on "home," bringing up her own memories. Justin's piece was a lyrical sermon on loving Jesus, like a preacher-poet. "Screamer" (Amy Fortin) has been trying out her work-in-progress, "Fire," at a couple venues; it's about the grim aftermath of losing one's home in a fire.

Signed up as Nicco, Nick Patti was a former Albany poet, now based in NYC; he read "Dispatch from a Park Bench" from his zine, Riverfront: A Zine of Poems ($4.00, at Nicholas Patti, P.O. Box 442, Cooper Station, New York, NY 10276 -- send him poems). Anthony Bernini's terrifying poem was based on a snatch of overheard newscast "Held in Place." Our final poet of the night was Dr. Moses Kash III, with his scribbled reaction to the shooting in Tucson "Shadows of Darkness."

We are at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, every third Thursday of the month, $3.00 donation, with an open mic with a featured reader. Bring a poem.

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