October 30, 2012

Performing Voices of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, October 26

(left to right) Magdalena Gomez, Jesus Papoleto Melendez,
Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, Edwin Torres,
Margarita Benitez
This was a wonderful afternoon & evening of conversations & readings up at the University at Albany (NY). In the afternoon it was a panel discussion, "Conversations with Diasporican Writers," in the Assembly Hall of the Campus Center. It was supposed to be moderated by Tomás Urayoán Noel (who had been a featured poet at my Third Thursday Poetry Night back in December, 2009) , but unfortunately he was not there. Fortunately 'though, the panel was ably hosted by Margarita Benitez who presented the topic "crossing boundaries" for each panelist to respond to.

Often such panel discussions are deadly but this group was lively, full of energy & laughter & back & forth banter. Performance poet Edwin Torres began by saying he doesn't consider himself a Puerto Rican per se (born in the Bronx of Puerto Rican parents) but doesn't shy away from it. He read an excerpt from an essay on performance that discussed the artist as "other" that helps us understand the "we", about trying to figure out where the edges are. He said, "performance takes a wall & turns it into a stage."

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes presented himself as a short story writer (who privately writes poetry), born in Puerto Rico, a professor, a drag-queen. He gave an hysterical account of preparing a bi-lingual edition of his stories written in Spanish then translating them into English & revising them at the same time, revising the Spanish until some times the 2 versions of the stories printed in the book don't match, which would wreak havoc with someone like me whose Spanish is rudimentary & when reading it I often resort to cribs (i.e., other's translations of what I'm reading).

Jesús Papoleto Meléndez was one of the founders of the Nuyorican Poetry Café. He read excerpts from the preface of just-published collected works, Hey Yo! Yo Soy! - 40 Years of Nuyorican Street Poetry (2leafpress.org) about making up stories as a young child, the influence of his black friends & the encouragement of tutors and teachers, paying tribute to these teachers. He read a poem about Mexican immigrants crossing the freeway outside San Diego, "Tourism Up Dow Jones Up 5 Points."

As lively as the discussion had been at this point, Magdelena Gómez kicked it up a few notches trading funny stories with Papoleto about her being a young poet on the fringes of the Nuyorican Café, not being featured there because she "couldn't be had."  Instead, her first reading was at gay men's revue where she got her first look at a real live penis as well. She too paid tribute to people who are the reason she is a poet today, the New York City poets Emily Glen & Barbara Holland (both of whom I had met during my days on the edges of the downtown poetry scene). When I indicated that I too had met Emily Glen, had been a couple times to readings in her apartment, Magdalena came out of her seat at the panel & gave me a huge hug! She went to the podium to read a poem with vivid, bright images imagining a grandmother because, she said, sometimes we must invent our memories.

Even the sometimes tedious questions from the audience ended up giving these lively writers more chances to laugh, to tell more stories of who influenced them, of fellow poets on the scene.

In the evening we gathered in the huge expanse of the Campus Center Ballroom for the "Diasporican Café: Performing Voices of the Puerto Rican Diaspora." In addition to the afternoon's panel participants the reading included Giannina Braschi who read excerpts in Spanish & English from her book United States of Banana (Amazon Crossing, 2011), a surreal political work of satiric poetic fiction (can't believe I got all those adjectives in there), post 9/11 consideration of stereotypes of Puerto Ricans & gays (I've got the book & it makes my head spin -- in a good way).

Magdalena Gómez was loud & defiant, after beginning with an enthusiastic "thank-you" performance, then into a long political rant, "invent this…" Then a poem about a bitter confrontation with her mother when she, Magdalena, worked in an AIDS ward.  She ended with the poem "Why I Became a Loud Puerto Rican" (so she could tell her story). Magdalena is also the Artistic Director of the Teatro Vida in Springfield, MA.

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes read 2 pieces, one in Spanish, a long dedication, then a piece mostly in dialogue with a black thug that expanded into lyricism & a conversation with his mother, gay sex & love (almost). Fun, shocking & to the heart of the matter. His books include Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Disapora (University of Minnesota Press, 2009) & Uñas Pintadas de Azul = Blue Fingernails (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2009).

Jesús Papoleto Meléndez read a series of pieces as if he was at an open mic in NYC (or here), beginning with "Cop Haiku," then mixed blood & gold in "Overflow." His title piece from his book, "Hey Yo! Yo Soy!" a political piece incorporating Native chants followed, then a piece written as a youth "Spring Again," & ended with the poem he read at the panel.

Edwin Torres likes to play with sounds, with language(s) in his performances & began with a weaving pattern of phrases, even singing, in "The Name of Things." Another more philosophical/political poem piled up "--isms." A couple poems brought in his father, one about trying to fit in, the other a conversation at his father's grave. Another poem played in English, Spanish, Spanglish & maybe what could be called "Torrish" exploring the Pureto Rican identity. He ended with a his "Requisite Mango Poem" complete with rhythmic foot stomping & audience participation.

The program was sponsored by the Center for Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies; the Department of Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latino Studies; and the College of Arts and Science at UAlbany; as well as the NYS Writers Institute. It was one of the best programs I'd seen up there in a long time.

You can find more photos from this marvelous event at my flickr site here.

Chronogram Open Word, October 20

This series had been on the 1st Saturday of each month, now scheduled for the 3rd Saturday, at venues at 314 Wall St., Kingston, NY, now "Outdated - an antique cafe." Tonight's featured poets, hosted by Phillip Levine, were Jacqueline Ahl & a last-minute fill-in, Roberta Gould.

There was also an open mic, with our host, Phillip Levine, leading it off with his poem "Election" from 2004, in which he mentions his new-born daughter. & that daughter, Piper Levine, was here tonight & read some short poems & a short story "The Wingless Dragon."

Tim Dwyer read a cluster of outdoors poems, "Walking by the Farm Field Late Summer" thinking of his father, "Summer Late August," & a prose poem when his father also makes an appearance, "Raking the Leaves." Cheryl A. Rice read a tender poem about Mary Panza's late mother, "Day of the Dead." I followed with "Another Tuesday" (a September 11 poem), & "Different Tastes in Music" from a new series.

The first of 2 featured poets, Jacqueline Ahl, read a number of her poems from the journals & anthologies in which they appeared, beginning with "Memories" from the Voices of the Valley collection of a few years back, then on to a sensuous piece about roadkill. "Poetry is a Vampire Monster Come to Get You in Your Sleep" responded to the "poetry-is-dead" school of academics. She painted a vivid portrait in rich images of the old farmhouse in which she lives in her poem "The Laws of What Happens." In fact one of the fine characteristics of her poetry is the rich, concrete images that she uses. The poem "Ventriloquist" pondered what divine intervention means, while the longer, darker "Union" used the voices of women across history to talk about marriage. Driving & fucking were the topics of "Diesel & Drums," & she wondered "What business do I have writing a Johnny Cash poem?" in her final poem, "The Room with 3 Walls." It was a nicely planned out reading filled with those rich images, humor, sex, politics & intelligence.

Roberta Gould also used humor & images from the real world in her poems, but was more haphazard, selecting her poems as she read, mostly new, recent poems. There was a grand mix of topics & styles, though humor frequently played a part in the poems & many had the sound & feel of notebook entries (as so many of my poems stem from). "Thieves," about misplacing false teeth, was described as "an oral nightmare," while the similar poem "Casual Life" was about retracing one's steps to find things. There were a number of "nature poems," albeit quirky Roberta-Gould-style, including a couple of poems about bears, a translation of a Peruvian poet about caterpillars, & "Entymology Notes" & "Bugs" (on a predation experiment). There was the vivid string of images in the poem "Reverse" & the poem "For Cassandra" with the line "the punchline is your last line…" Most of her poems are short so there were many of them.

Stay tuned as this series has switched to the 3rd Saturday.

October 23, 2012

Third Thursday Poetry Night, October 18

In spite of another poetry reading going on at a local college on Western & Madison Avenues that shall remain nameless we had 11 open mic poets & some random non-reading audience here for our featured poet Anna Eyre, at the Social Justice Center.

The first open mic poet was new-comer Mary Rubio, who has been busy checking out different poetry venues, with a poem titled "It Was Christmas Then," sex & love.

Another new face/voice was Keny Garcia with a short political piece beginning "Open Hearted America Where Have you Gone…?" Bob Sharkey, a regular here, with the funny list poem, "7 Actions for Age 65." Matthew Klane likes to test the one-poem rule with a few very short poems strung together, as tonight with, as he described it, 7 poems shorter than haiku, new words & definitions, "Words on the Street". Don Levy hasn't been here for sometime & was thankful to be back with us & read a piece about New York City, "The Old Time Square of my Youth."

The featured poet, Anna Eyre, had been scheduled for June but came down with that Summer-time nemesis Poison Ivy ("… gonna need an ocean of calamine lotion …") at the last minute, so was re-scheduled for tonight. I've enjoyed hearing her read at other readings in the area & I like her book Faceless Names: Two Books of Letters (BlazeVOX Books, 2012). She began with a couple poems with political ovetones; "Scanned" played on the word "character," even at one point breaking up "army" into "are me." Soldiers were mentioned also in "Red Cross." The short "Coin" also exploited the taking apart of words & syllables. At one point Anna became giggly over the applause after each poem. You see, at academic readings the audience sits in rapt silence until the poet concludes the reading, while out here in the community we tend to clap after each poem. She moved on to poems she described as "prayer-like" & loosely based on 8-syllable lines: "Coin," "River," & "Fate." She ended with a longer piece, also prayer-like, that began "This flesh speaks sound…" with a rich use of repetition, & fractured phrases & syntax; I was struck by the phrase "ladders of letters." A fine, concise reading that surprised me when it was over, wanting more.

After the break I read the latest version of a political piece on 9/11, "Another Tuesday." Therese Broderick said her poem, like mine, contained Spanish, based on a visit to Argentina, "Buenos Aires Alongside My Daughter." That daughter's father (& Therese's husband) Frank Robinson was up next with the quirky, funny "Migration" as his becomes hers. I rambled on a bit doing poetry announcements, etc. & eventually got to introduce Anthony Bernini, who had a brief story to tell about Times Square (inspired by Don's poem), since his poem was only a haiku. Sylvia Barnard's poem "Homecomings" was a spin-off from a poem she heard Ghassan Zaqtan read on Tuesday afternoon, but about Cyprus. The last poet, Cara Benson, was last month's featured poet here & tonight read "Altar to the Will of Privation" about the irony of sending soldiers to fight but ill-equipped.

We are here at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY every third Thursday, starting at 7:30PM, with a featured poet & an open mic, $3.00 helps pay the featured poet, & supports poetry programs & the work of the Social Justice Center.

October 21, 2012

Writers Institute Reading: Ghassan Zaqtan, with Fady Joudah, October 16

Life is full of choices. But I relish these opportunities, having grown up in this area when there were no choices because there was nothing going on. Tonight it was the bi-monthly Slam at Valentines, or the reading by Ghassan Zaqtan at the University at Albany. I chose the reading at the University & have no regrets.

Zaqtan was originally scheduled to read here in April but "ethnic profiling" by the US Government held up his visa application until a variety of political/poetical forces were applied to get this major representative of the avant-garde in Arabic literature here to be able to read his work in "the land of the Free …" etc., etc. He was accompanied by his translator, the poet & activist-physician Fady Joudah (whom I had heard read his own poems at the Split-this-Rock Poetry Festival). Joudah has also translated extensively the work of Mahmoud Darwish, one of the most admired & widely read poets in the Arab world.

The evening began with Don Faulkner from the Writers Institute introducing Lofti Sayahi, the Chair of the University's Department of Language, Literature & Culture. Dr. Sayahi's introduction placed the work of Ghassan Zaqtan in the larger context of Arabic literature, as well as discussing the work of the translator.

Ghassan Zaqtan (left) & Fady Joudah
Each poem was read first by Fady Joudah in English, sometimes commenting on the poem or explaining a reference, then by Ghassan Zaqtan in Arabic in his deep, throaty voice, often gesturing with his right hand as he got warmed up in the poem. All the poems read were from the recent collection Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, and Other Poems (Yale University Press). Joudah explained that it contains the entire collection Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me (2008) & selections from 2 earlier collections.

Most of the poems are fairly short & have a surreal quality, in the best sense of that term, creating another, more real world in language. In introducing "Wolves Also" Joudah said "wolves don't appear the same way twice" in Zaqtan's poems. I was pleased to hear a poem titled "Cavafy's Builders," & the comment that Constantine Cavafy (one of my favorite poets since the time I discovered his work while reading many years ago Lawrence Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet) was the only non-Arab poet Zaqtan cited as an influence. I also like Zaqtan's use of poem fragments in "Everything as It Was," or as Joudah said, "the poem in its painful incompleteness."

At the end Don Faulkner asked Fady Joudah to read one of his own poems & he complied with "Bird Banner" with its images of pelicans. Of course there were questions from the audience, but I tried not to let that spoil the poems still echoing in my head.

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.

October 15, 2012

Reading at Pine Hollow Arboretum, October 12

Poet Sharon Stenson (center) with
actors Carol King & Patrick White
This night poet Sharon Stenson presented her performance piece, "Perspective III: Cantata for Two Voices & Horns," only tonight the background music was taped while the voices were provided by actors Carol King & Patrick White. The piece is a dialogue/essay on creativity invoking gone jazz musicians such as Bird (Charlie Parker), Bud Powell, Max Roach, Zoot Sims, Bob Brookmeyer. It was succinct & punchy, a jazz duet, well-read by King & White. Though perhaps one had to be old enough to know whom the musicians were that were being mentioned. The performance area was nicely set off by paintings done by Alan Casline.

Unfortunately, the actors had to leave for another gig & during the break most of the rest of the audience left with them, except for the open mic poets & few of the usual die-hards. I was up first for the open mic & followed the announced/suggested "theme" of Jazz Poetry with "Acrostic Jazz," a tribute to Thelonious Monk (whose birthday was October 10) & "The bass player's thoughts…" Susan Riback followed with a found poem, blurbs from a dating site, "Plenty of Fish in the Sea But Not For Me," & a tender piece about an aged couple in a nursing home, "Connie & Cliff." Pine Hollow Arboretum proprietor John Abbuhl shared a few short pieces, the word list of "Completion," the pondering of "What Part Are You…" ("… of knowing?") & the humorous thoughts on death of "Life is Learning."

Edie Abrams began with a wistful poem, "The Jacket," then onto the philosophical questioning of "The Hemlock's Yield." Alan Casline, who served as our M.C., read the very short "Fires" then a piece that was a "re-wording" of the work of Nicaraguan poet Alfonso Cortez (1893 - 1969).

Mimi Moriarty rounded out the night with 3 poems, "Elvis Re-Visited," "Pigeons on Cornice," & her young grand-daughter's description of birth as a series of gates in a poem titled "Questions About Babies."

This relaxed & pleasant series is held on the 2nd Friday of the month at the meeting room of the Pine Hollow Arboretum, Maple Ave., Slingerlands, 6:30 PM, some type of program & usually an open mic.

Live from the Living Room, October 10

Still without the comfy couch, etc., but at least there were plenty of chairs here in the living room of the Pride Center. Our host, Don Levy welcomed some new faces & introduced the featured poet.

Featured Poet Sylvia Barnard (left)
& open mic poet Mary Rubio (right)
Sylvia Barnard let the "poetry gods" choose her poems tonight as she paged through the manuscript of her poetry collection, but ever the professional, kept track of her time as well. She began with a poem from a workshop, the poem based on a photo of Robert Frost, then a poem about another poet, Anne Sexton, on seeing a film about her life, then on to a poem to her daughter, "Good-Bye Poem." "In Memoriam" is a recent poem about visiting the Cloisters Museum & remembering an old love. She included a couple poems from her travels, "Change" (written in England) & the look back into history & death, "Frankish Cathedral in Andromeda, Greece." Looking back was also a theme in her poem "To My Mother on her 70th Wedding Anniversary," in "Marriage Quilt" seen in a museum & in her final poem, "Journeys" as a traveller through American history. A nice selection of poems by the "poetry gods" reflecting many aspects of the poet Sylvia Barnard & a good reading in spite of persistent chatter both from the cafe at the other end of the room & from the sound of the keys as someone typed at the computer in the room.

Host Don Levy (left)
On to the open mic portion, I read first, with a couple new poems, "Different Tastes in Music" & "Opinions." Mary Rubio read a wonderful piece about her mother in the kitchen late at night, "Momma" & then a poem about looking out the window at a homeless woman. Alexandria Kirksey had signed up early, then went off for something to eat & made it back in time for the open mic; she read the enthusiastic rant, "Just Blowing Off Some Steam." Our host, Don Levy, read 2 "city poems" (quelle surprise!), "Sneakers on Telephone Poles" & the New York City based "The Old Times Square of My Youth."

A cozy evening in the living room of the Pride Center of the Capital Region, 332 Hudson Ave., Albany, NY, where we gather each 2nd Wednesday of the month at 7:30, a featured poet, open mic & always straight-friendly.

October 11, 2012

Professor Java's Wide Open Mic, October 8

Sad to say this was the last in this series that has run on the 2nd Monday for the last few years, an open mic for both poets & for musicians under the auspices of AlbanyPoets.com. The original host was Keith Spencer, with Kevin Peterson taking it on the last few months. Tonight, there were only poets to perform -- "only poets," did I just say that? There were a few regulars & even a new voice, & part of the night spent trying out names for Thom & Carissa's expected baby (with the last name of "Job" I think you can guess what some of the more snarky suggestions were).

I was up first (since #1 was still open after most folks had signed up) with a couple from a new series of poems based on a break-up letter from a few years past, "Opinions" & "different tastes in music." Harvey Havel, a prose fiction writer who has been here before without reading, read a short story, playing on the concept of "skeletons in the closet." Two of Joe Krausman's "3 poems of Death" involved famous people, "Is he Dead?" (Yehuda Amichai) & "Ted William's Head," the other was his "Salad Days" with images of onions & tomatoes. Our pleasant host, Kevin Peterson, regaled us with a recitation of the Gilbert & Sullivan piece from HMS Pinafore, "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General," always much better sung, but a tour de force in breath control.

The new voice, Misana, who said she has read at Caffe Lena & here previously, enchanted the poets here tonight with 3 poems, the first an intense saga of serial incest & brutality, then the sexy love poem "Unclothed Love, the Chosen" & the self-affirming "How Do I Love Me While Loving You," all delivered with a relaxed use of rhyme & bright, vivid images. It was only fitting that AlbanyPoets' el presidente Thom Francis would be the last poet to read, beginning with the new piece, "To the Darkness of the Night," a brilliant collage of lines of poems culled from an internet poetry site, then a piece he dubbed "the worst poem ever," about a night of drinking & smoking at the neighborhood bar (was this any different from the poems he pulled the lines from for his first poem?).

Venues come, venues go, that's the nature of the poetry scene. Check out the calendar on AlbanyPoets.com for many more open mics each month.

October 5, 2012

Nitty Gritty Slam #27, October 2

A packed house because St. Rose cancelled classes & the poetry professors sent their students to Valentines (wish they would do that on a Third Thursday sometime). There was a long list of open mic poets so I signed up for the shorter Slam list, which got more takers too.

Mojavi played host for the open mic & mercifully kept his stand-up comic routine under wraps so we could get through the night before he had to report for class tomorrow. First up was the only sitter for the night, John Kohl, who tried to get the audience to clap along with his Tom Waits impersonation. Matt Alegretti & Monica Mitsakas did a collaborative piece with alternating lines. Sadie "E." Hickman read "LOL Do you Love Me." Sarah Sherman used the basement to explain the hidden in her piece "Deep Down."

Brett Petersen began with breakfast & images from childhood. Juliet Barney's notebook piece was filled with teenage angst. Jackie Kirkpatrick read what amounted to an autobiography & love poem, about what happened to her at 17. Lauren Darman, who had never read before, read a piece by Carl Sandburg. Jess Listen to My Words got us warmed up for "Cuddle Season." Ashley gave us more teenage angst, this in rhyme. PV, or Poetyc Vyzonz, was his positive self with his "you are a miracle" anatomy lesson. Tasha read an endless list poem to her little sister, "I'm Sorry Is So Fucking Cliché." Laura's piece (unititled?) was pleasantly dirty. & I missed Drew's poem, the last of the open mic, as I was in the men's room (sorry).

An added feature for the night was a performance by traveling Slam poet, John Survivor Blake. Of course, one advantage of a Slam poet being a feature is that they are not bound by the 3-minute rule & can stretch out & go on & on. Blake took full advantage of this tonight. Most of his pieces fell more into the epic story-telling end of the oral tradition, but he was able to keep the audience engaged by the force of his style & his vivid images. His subject was himself, his addiction (his brother introduced him to heroin), visiting his mother in prison, his sister protecting him in the schoolyard, teaching in a youth detention center, hardknocks that were exotic & foreign to most, if not all, in the audience. He did read one haiku, & a brief, short real poem about a woman/anaconda. He has travelled the country performing his poetry (as well as performing in Slam championships) so I found it perplexing that he had not kept track of his time or knew by the pieces he'd done how long he had performed & had to ask "how many more?" like a first-timer on the stage.

Then on to Slam #27 with el presidente Thom Francis as the Slam Master. Mojavi was the sacrificial poet with a hot sex poem. It was a fat field of 9, with Avery starting off with a burn the books performance, followed by Kevin Peterson with his parking poem, then the always positive PV.

Alyssa Niman performed her 1st Slam with a real poem of love with actual metaphors, "I Am a Stripper" -- naturally she didn't do well. I followed with my "Slam Poem" & got a respectable 27.5. Rain Dan's poem "Stumble Upon" had him finding his forgotten poems. Jackie "K" did an anti-slam slam poem, while Alex Sherman-Cross (who did well in Slam #26) read a passionate, positive love poem. Daniella Watson had the sexiest accent of the night & did a metaphysical piece that ended on the right line but way too late & was penalized for going over time.

So when the dust settled the 4 left were me (!), PV, Kevin & Avery. My piece "27 Things to Do with an MFA" got a lot of (embarrassed) laughs but not enough points to make the final round, so it was Avery in 3rd place, Kevin (who ended up in second place) & the winner (positively) Poetyc Vyzonz. As they say in baseball, "one more for the record books."

Nitty Gritty Slam is the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of the month at Valentines on New Scotland Ave. in Albany, 7:30PM, $5.00, or less with a student I.D.