After a miserable drive up on the Northway (heavy rain & traffic), at least there was a nice dinner with "the ladies" at Ravenous, then on to the open mic, for a respectable crowd in spite of the weather. Our host, Carol Graser, set the tone by reading Joy Harjo's poem, "Anniversary."
The first open mic poet was Gigi Devons with 2 poems in rhyme & 4-beat lines, "Fields of Flame" & the second sounding like she's read a lot of Poe. Carole Kenyon brought the rhyming into the 21st Century with a hip-hop tale, "Lounge Lizard Smack Down." Kate McNairy began with a poem about a suicide, "This World Was Not Enough," then "a hot one," as she described it, "Wet Bodies." Josh McIntyre's first poem was a short piece, "When Even a Song Won't Inspire," then he read "Gleanings" in which he considered the patterns of life.
the website. She capped her reading off with a short segment from her recently self-published novel Standing on the Corner of Lost and Found.
After the break Carol Graser read her poem "The Calculator" in which the calculator becomes a poet after booze is spilled on it -- pretty funny. Cecele Krause read from her Finishing Line Press book Tuscaloosa Bypass, "To a Would Be Writer of Short Stories," & a poem about the Klan, "Melissa & Jimmy."
More wonderful variety -- new voices/faces, regulars, & the occasional drop-in. The number of rhymers tonight, particularly among some of the younger poets, made evident the perhaps unfortunate influence of the kind of poetry taught in schools, song-like rhymes & short 4-beat lines, stuck in the 19th Century or the early 20th century (in the homey style of Edgar A. Guest, for example), that gets reinforced by rhyming children's books & greeting card verse. Many young poets begin this way, but today's young poets need to raid the Library for the 20th century poets (or Whitman) who got us out of that rut for examples of modern idioms & then find their own, authentic voice in the 21st century.
Every 1st Wednesday at Caffé Lena on Phila St. in Saratoga Springs, NY, $3.00, at 7:30PM.