March 26, 2013

Third Thursday Poetry Night, March 21

We began the night with a little background music from The Chieftains & the invocation of the muse, tonight the recently-gone poet Anselm Hollo (1934 - 2013); I read his early poem "Poemology" ("…it is easier to eat an apple/than to make a poem…"). Since there were only a few of us I dropped the one-poem rule & each poet could read 2 poems (if they wanted to &/or had them). Even a couple of late arrivals were "grand-mothered in."

First up was Alan Catlin (who had been 1st through the door), who said he had been trying to find "something Irish, but this is not Irish," "Beckett Plays Self-Portrait" & for his bonus poem, the unexaggerated account of "Senior Citizen Day at the Supermarket," engendering a discussion by Sylvia about shopping for old men (which gives many of us hope). Avery admitted he planned to read 2 poems anyway & read "The Egg The Seed The Acorn" based on versions of the Tarot card, & a poem written on St. Patrick's Day, like his first poem a meditation on the Eternal Moment. Sally Rhoades read a recent poem from a dream about her mother, then an older piece, a self-assured celebration, "I Am a Many Splendored Thing."

Brian Dorn referred to the movie Lincoln & read his poem "Freedom's Name," then a poem he hasn't read out before, "Invincible." I had brought only 1 poem (besides, as the host, I'm running my mouth constantly anyways), a recent fun piece, "Living in Wilcox." Kevin Peterson, in spite of the many poems in his Slammer head, also brought only 1 poem, a short one from February, another in his continuing series of lessons not-learned from behaving badly, oh well. Jan Farrell was "thrilled" to read 2 poems, one by Emily Dickinson (#165), then her own based on on a true experience, both about wounded deer.

Sylvia Barnard has been popping up on my Blog a lot recently as she sails through her local book tour. I was pleased to feature her here at the SJC where she is a regular reader in the open mic & supporter of the other poets in the community, to help her promote her collection of poems, Trees. Tonight she let the poetry gods pick her poems, beginning with "The Exorcism of Emily Dickinson," responding to Jan's poem. The gods kept her bouncing from theme to theme across many locations such as poems about her daughter at the Natural History Museum & at school, poems set in England ("Change," "Sir William Bardwell"), & of course, ancient history ("Beyond Babylon," "St. Albans, Hertfordshire," "Grave Stele," "Epidauros"). Closer to home, she read poems about a music festival in her Massachusetts, a portrait in the Clark Museum, and ballet at SPAC, ending with a love poem, "Easter 1988." It was a wonderfully eclectic reading giving us all a taste of the wide-range of subjects of the poems of Sylvia Barnard.

We gather together each third Thursday at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, around 7:30PM to listen to a local or regional featured poet, & an open mic for community poets. A donation of $3.00 supports the reading series, pays the poet, & helps the Social Justice Center continue its work.

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