|Photo by Glenn Werner|
After a too-long break the surprising long line of open mic poets began. Were all these folks in the house when I & Milby read? Glenn Werner, who also makes poetry happen in the area, began the open mic explaining tidal bore, followed by Ken Howard with a couple poems. Chris Peña's 2 poems ranged from tender to vicious, while husband Tony Peña's "Day Tripper" was a rambling druggie surrealistic romp. Robert Phelps' poems were trees & squirrels, followed by "Ivan Smirnoff" with an accent that sounded more Irish than Russian. Another local stalwart, Christopher Wheeling read a just-written piece & "The Ink Well" (revising the title at the mic), then John Douglas with a portrait of a recluse, followed by Kenaya Massaline also with a brand-new poem & tender one for a late friend, "Dear Raoul."
Hayden Wayne read Cherokee & English from his book, whose title I missed. Stephen Coyle read O.P.P. (a poem by someone else), launched into a lecture about corruption in Iraq (duh!) then wanted to do another poem (after already going way too long) & someone, who didn't sound like either of the tag-team hosts said to go ahead. This was indicative of the chaotic way the open mic was being run. After the first couple of poets neither of the hosts came up to the mic to announce the next reader, but called out the name from the back of the room. Sometimes people were still applauding, sometimes the name was unclear but I'm sure I'm not the only one who frequently didn't know who was reading. It's not just important for a nut like me trying to keep the archives accurate, but also does a disservice to the poet themselves: when I get up to read I want the folks in the audience to know who I am, what my name is. Fortunately for me I was able to hijack the sign-up sheet before heading out.
|Ras Negus reads Mutabaruka|
It had been a long night, at least for those of us here from the beginning. Calling All Poets! is held each first Friday at the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon, NY, 8PM, with featured poets & an open mic. The website doesn't seem to be up to date on the schedule, but can give you directions.