March 14, 2013

Poetry + Prose: 2nd Sunday @ 2, March 10

I was the solo host this lovely Sunday afternoon, with a list of 13 readers from near & far, as well as an audience of rapt listeners.

Bob Sharkey was up first with a prose piece, inspired by an exhibit here at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, "Clumsy Federal Agent Goes Undercover at a Beauty Pageant," then a poem from his chapbook, Surface at Sunrise, "Twilight." Harvey Havel was up next with a piece about a frustrating experience all-too-familiar to PC users, about trying to download audio software. Howard Kogan's poem "Kaddish for Newtown" was a meditative prayer & a call for action. I inserted myself into the list at this point with 2 Winter poems, the 2011 "Winter Argument" & the recent "Winter Peace."

Kathleen Smith said her piece, "Ice & Summer," about a crash & its aftermath was inspired by watching truckers at a diner. Terry Provost's connection to the Albany poetry scene goes back many years; he now lives in Ohio, & today read a long, intense poem, "Celestial Mechanics," starting with a paean to an orange then progressing to a lime-sized tumor in his brain, fortunately benign -- good to have him back, & still with us.

Next was a new voice & face, T. Rusch with a small cluster of poems, "Kristallnacht," an untitled piece about the last election, & "New Surroundings." Sean Heather McGraw's poem "The Tattoo" was about a relationship & the way it marks one, while "Compass," a song, but not sung, was about hope & love.

Brian Dorn read 3 poems, all rhymed, the first about chess played on a board v. video games, "My Queen," then "Monkey Bars" about evolution, & finally "an Easter poem," the marvelous piece on the life of Jesus in a minute or 2, "3 Days" -- marvelous even to an Buddhist/Anarchist/Church-burner like me. David Wolcott read from his ongoing memoir, this an excerpt from a chapter about building his house with his Dad, & the subsequent naming, "Champ du Soleil," under the influence of psilocybin. Tim Verhaegen had poems to read today, "Physical Pain" (in the life of a drama queen) & "Letters," on saving old correspondence. Kate Laity read an essay/meditation on writing (& her vision of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.), "Me & Margery Kemp." Barbara Kaiser finished off the afternoon with 3 short, humorous poems, "Superhero," "Hedges & Sketches," & "A Weather Coma."

This open mic is friendly to prose as well as poetry & takes place on the 2nd Sunday of each month at 2PM in the black box theater of the Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St., Troy, NY -- Free!

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