March 27, 2013

Sunday Four Poetry, March 24

Another 4th Sunday in Voorheesville, with a bevy of open mic poets before today's featured poet, Charles Straney, our host Edie Abrams judiciously keeping the list.

First up was me with 2 recent poems, "Winter Peace" (the last time this season I will be reading this) & the new poem "Living in Wilcox." Alan Casline did a couple of "songs," "Song: Muse Blues" & from 1981 "Song after Car Crash" & something I think he said was "Colors with Linen Trucks" (which is a great title even if I got it wrong). Dennis Sullivan began with a memory of grade school & played on the word "civil" in "My Grammar School," then on to his favorite theme with "Continuing With the Theme of Death" & then the pensively philosophical "A Safe Confession is Good for the Soul." Edie Abrams' single poem "Schrodinger's Cat" pondered the paths that face us at mid-life, this path or that?

Obeedúid's book of poems, Telluric Voices, has a troubled history with an interim edition bootlegged by Benevolent Bird Press for Obeedúid's reading at Caffe Lena while FootHills Publishing struggled to recover from a fire. Today he read 2 Spring poems from the book, "We are born" & "Where I am safe," then ended waiting for the Sun "Early in the Morning." Now, apparently, the official FootHills edition will be ready out soon -- stay tuned. Lloyd Barnhart started with his poem "Boxes," one filled with ashes, the other with "life," then on to a poem about 2 women in his family "Suicide," & ended with a funny poem lamenting all the reasons he can't be a cowboy. Mimi Moriarty also has a new book from FootHills Publishing, Crows Calling & read 2 poems from the book, "Unfinished Hymn" & "Waving from Shore," & finished with a seasonal piece "Good Friday" mixing family with the Bible story.

Howard Kogan read "His Father's Mittens" from a conversation with his neighbor Earl, then a profound Proustian meditation on the fickle nature of memory, "Memories Are Made of This." Joe Krausman read his poem "Unanswered Prayers" that was a finalist in a contest, then a poem that really happened (to him) "Job Seekers Car Stolen," & ended with a piece in rhyme about the dreams of youth & of old age. Brian Dorn read what he described as 3 Easter poems, "Guilty as Sin," "Belove Poem" (an anaphoric list piece, "Love is…") & ended with his fabulous poem on the life of Christ, "3 Days."

Dennis Sullivan introduced today's featured poet Charles Straney, who was a finalist last year in the Smith Tavern Poet Laureate contest. He began with a poem about life's messages, "When Youth Pleads Guilty," then on to "Unknown Rose" & "Moon Enough" & a poem about the theft of old, salvaged radiators. Like the best of poetry his poems are meditations on meaning written in images drawn from the life around him. "The Leading Road" was about false prophets (at least based on my hearing it just once, a problem at these readings), then the pensive "Sunrise at 50" & a poem on climate change "Snapshots of the Aftermath." He ended with selections from a longer piece "Well Digger," from an experience in his youth, a wonderfully rich poem filled with images of the land, dirt, & working in a deep pit -- it would make a great chapbook.

Of course there was an extended après reading conversation over drinks & food at Smitty's Tavern Poet's Corner.

This community gathers each 4th Sunday at the Old Songs Community Center in Voorheesville, NY at 3PM, usually a featured poet & an open mic, for a modest donation to pay the poet & support the work of Old Songs.

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