June 6, 2011

Caffe Lena Open Mic, June 1

Our genial host, Carol Graser, began with “Poem for Wisconsin” by Matthew Zapruder, then a bit of the open mic before the featured poet, Terry Bat-Sonja.

Carole Kenyon started us off with a rhymed ditty about a Phish concert, “Bucchus’ Last Stand.” Kate McNary’s poem “The Gambler” was about playing strip poker. Barbara Garro’s first poem was about something called “holy fire,” then she read a memoir of her father defusing land mines, “Normandy Beach, France.” Lily Loveday was back with her troupe of young dancers who choreographed & danced to the collaborative poem they wrote, “Reflections on Being a Young Woman.”

The featured poet was Terry Bat-Sonja who said she was reading poems written over the last 10 years & they are about “everything that life is about.” But first she read a poem by Edward Hirsch, “Ancient Times.” She began with poems from her days in California & her depression after her husband died, as in “Figs & Figments.” But other poems celebrated happier times, such as remembering her son’s first sounds in the poem “First Son Laundry,” or the lush language evoking Chagall’s paintings in “Peacock Spring 2007” (Terry is, afterall, a painter as well as a poet). In fact, a recent poem, “The Color of Love is Pizza” is very much a painter’s poem sex in colors. And other love poems included ones to someone she has never met, who travels all over the globe. Terry’s poems often read like letters, addressed to some un-named “you.”

After the break Carol Graser read one of her own poems, the humorous/satirical “Portrait of a Poet Unhappy with the Size of his Crowd.” Marilyn Sanberg continued the humor with the Heaven (& revenge) fantasy, “Words Not Spoken,” & continued with another death poem, a short obituary with a nod to William Shakespeare. Todd Fabozzi read 2 poems from his first book, Umbrageous Embers, the love poem “Sometimes” & “A Spirit to Suffer” about his Polish immigrant grandmother. There was some debate over how many times Stever Pilar had been here to Caffe Lena (see last month’s blog ); tonight he read about things he can’t explain, a sometimes-rhyming poem that became a love poem at the end, “Tomorrow’s Wings.” Charles Watts brought us back to humor with the “educational poem” “What Do the Old Talk About” & his version of the Tennessee Ernie Ford song “16 Tons,” here about rejected poems, “16 Lines.”

Kelly de la Rocha read a nostalgic piece about her childhood, rich images from the past. Holly Clark’s poem struggled with generalities in describing a “phoneme seeker.” My poem tonight was the militantly heterosexual (& feline cynical) “The Pussy Pantoum.” Therese Broderick gave her age away in “Approaching 52,” then read one of her new moon poems, “Moon of the Spice Root,” on handmade paper. Nancy DeNofio addressed her poltergeist mother in “Mama You Can Fly.” Judith Prest read a couple poems from a new poetry book, one poem she had never read out before, “The Harpest Survives the Tornado” (she should get to more open mics), & then the handy poetic excuses of “Why Poets are Late for Work.”

At Caffe Lena on Phila St. in Saratoga Springs, NY, on the first Wednesday of each month, 7:30PM.

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