October 17, 2012

Poetry + Prose -- 2nd Sunday at 2, October 14

Nancy Klepsch & I were pleased there were so many writers here today & that we were able to have everyone read. The general rule is a 5-minute time limit, which, like the strike-zone in the baseball playoffs, can be very elastic.

First up, after an absence of a few months, was Albany poet Carolee Sherwood with 2 poems, "Falling" & a poem that conflates origami with laundry, "Saturday Afternoon;" you can find some of her fine poems at her Blog.  Ron Drummond is a regular here with his prose, he began with 2 short pieces, & ended with the longer essay about people-watching at an airport, "The Long Dance at O'Hare." Harvey Havel, another regular prose writer, read a surrealistic piece about an entrepreneur horse breeder that would turn even me into a vegetarian.  Sean Heather McGraw's first poem, "The Maple Tree," was a play on the word "falling," then she reprised the funny poem she read in Voorheesville next month, "Honey Dew Melon."

Another reprise was Mary Rubio's poem "Momma" that she had read at the Pride Center last week, then read "Mirage Lament," a new voice to listen to. Olivia Quillio began with an untitled journal entry on lost love & rough sex then to the day's second airport piece, "Land of Layover, Newark NJ." Kate Laity has returned the Capital Region from a year in Ireland with a prose thriller of 2 bandits on the run.

Nancy Klepsch & Inna Erlich
Inna Erlich had been here last month in the audience but returned to read this month; she presented her translations from 2 contemporary Russian poets, Bulet Okudzova and Sara Stdyerova (this a wonderfully humorous piece titled "Mess"), the translations read by co-host Nancy Klepsch. I was glad to hear poetry from other cultures, we need more of this. Howard Kogan, another regular reader here, read a "pissed off poem," "Drones," then on to 2 more, the obsessive-compulsive word-counting of "A River of Time," & a philosophical sci-fi poem dedicated to Ron Drummond, "Calisto." David Wolcott, who is curating one of the Bookmarks memoir programs here at the Arts Center, read an excerpt from a chapter titled "The Wooden Shoe" about joining a hippy commune after flunking out of college.

I read 2 recent poems, the break-up memoir "Different Tastes in Music" (another reprise for regular open mic attendees), & the ekphrastic "Marsden Hartley's Eyes." My co-host Nancy Klepsch read a tender, happy poem about a wonderful day, "P-town Poem 3" with the hopeful thought, "sometimes we get lucky." Tim Verhaegan continued the saga of his family with his memoir piece about thinking to return to the the East Hamptons, reminding me of the old tune the "Hesitation Blues." Joe Krausman's poems were a little bit of memoir ("Junior High Substitute") & surrealism ("Metamorphosis").

Jil Hanifan has been working with Jane Kenyon's poems & read a very un-Jane Kenyon "Hymns for Summer" (sections 1 to 3, out of about 4). Sally Rhoades had forgotten her "cheaters" & eventually borrowed a pair to read the memoir poem "My Father's Slippers," then a recent piece, another memoir from a workshop in California, about her mother's tortured life. Jill Crammond ended the afternoon, first with a poem about being in the Adirondacks with her kids, "The Last Thing This World Needs is Another Poem About Flowers," then a love poem that may be on her Blog, "Maintenance."

By all accounts an afternoon of compelling words, in prose & poetry (I for one couldn't tell where the line line breaks were), just plain old good, interesting writing. Join us every 2nd Sunday at 2:00 PM at the Arts Center in Troy, it's free & it's for poetry, prose, whatever.

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