March 19, 2011

Third Thursday Poetry Night, March 17

It being St. Paddy's Day, there was a bit of a theme running through the night, starting with my reading of the old Irish poem "Fair Cassidy" in a translation by Donagh MacDonagh, a fine celebration of poetry for the 11 open mic poets & our featured poet Lori Desrosiers.

Alan Catlin was the first up complete with a costume change to a Guinness shirt & a green baseball cap worn backwards, & his poem was about his days as a bartender & the horrors of St. Patrick's Day ("the green plague" as John Montague called it). Judith Prest's poem was seasonal it a different way, "Crow"(& nice to see her back after a hiatus).  Carolee Sherwood, very much in green, had a new poem from this week, about the demise of a (fill in your own favorite) pizza place. W.D. Clarke's poem was about a different kind of favorite, "The Favorite Pipe." Don Levy read his poem about the poet Paul Weinman, "White Boy," from his on-going saga of the days at the QE2. It was Charles Straney's first time here, with a moving 3-part poem, "Death of a Copake Herdsman."

Our featured poet, Lori Desrosiers, said that she wasn't Irish but her book is -- she has a collection of poetry due out from Salmon Poetry (County Clare, Ireland) in 2012. Some of the poems she read were from this collection. She began with a poem about cicadas, then onto a different kind of music where she imagines herself as each of the instruments "Listening to a Beethoven Quartet." The everyday events return on "The Day After the End of the World (12/22/12)."  She read about a being stung by bees as a child in "Looking at Bees (after Wallace Stevens)," then more music in "Guitars." Her "marriage" poem "That Pomegranate Shine" was the poem I sent around with the email reminder. Her poem "The World is Flat" examined technologies like GPS & Facebook. She dedicated her poem "What Poets Do Instead of Sleep" to her critique group & to those who have insomnia, then concluded her reading singing a song for peace & putting an end to War.

After the break, I read the poem "Tracings" from my 1995 chapbook, "Ireland." Joe Krausman's poem "Movie Mania" imagined going to Hollywood where everyone has screen-play waiting to be produced. 

Another first-timer, Pearse Murray, read a genuine Irish poem, the "semi-autobiographical" (as he put it), "Exile 1955." Therese Broderick read from a new series of historical poems she has started, "Water Flats" (= Watervliet). At the end, the poet known as "Screamer" (Amy Fortin) moved us with her poem about looking for a missing friend, "Josh."

A nice showing of local poets, as always, even some listeners who did not read, keeping poetry alive on the third Thursday of each month (since 1997) -- 7:30PM at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany (NY).


Anonymous said...

From Therese L. Broderick -- It was a glorious way to spend the evening of St. Pat's Day. I really enjoyed listening to a genuine Irish accent. (Of course, it's an accent to me, but not to him.)

Clara Changxin Fang said...

Hi Dan,
My name is Clara Fang and I am a member of the Written Art Studio and the Sustainability Coordinator in the City of Albany Mayor's Office of Energy and Sustainability. I think I met you at a Written Studio meetup. I have been working with some environmental activists on an Earth Day poetry reading/music event. I see that you have an open mic scheduled for April 21 at the Social Justice Center. Instead of doing our own competing reading, is there a possibility that we could work with you to bring an environmental theme to this event? My email is Look forward to hearing from you.