In the past, when the weekend of WordFest started on Friday, the Third Thursday Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center was often proclaimed "the official un-official start of WordFest." This year with a week of activities, this reading was folded in as an official part of the program. & I was pleased to be able to bring in young performer from South Carolina, who was coming up for WordFest, as this month's featured poet -- Christopher the Poet.
But first, after invoking the Muse, tonight a poem by Catherine Connolly, a little bit of the open mic. Alan Catlin was up first with a poem from a series with animals as metaphors "Elephants at Low Tide." Rick Harrienger recovered enough from his first Slam appearance to show up & read the autobiographical rhyme "The American Refugee."
Slam open mic Mojavi read a poem about wanting to hear more real poems from the brothers, & these poems from Christopher the Poet were just that -- poems about real issues & not just ghetto stylizing & self-promotion.
After the break & the generous contributions of the audience, I started off the 2nd half open mic with my poem dedicated to Catherine Connolly, "Tell Me Something That Matters," advice we all need to follow. Bob Sharkey read from the long saga "Sustenance" using names of local poets for characters & places. Jay Toraty, who has just surfaced in the poetry scene this week, responded to one of Christopher's poems with "Maturity" about the cultural gap between his more traditional parents from India & his assimilation into American culture.
Even when it is not WordFest we are at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY on the third Thursday of each month at 7:30PM, with a featured poet & an open mic for all our community poets, a $3.00 donation (more if you can/less if you can't) keeps poetry happening.