For a night with filled with other poetry events in the area -- Mary Panza opening for another poet at Proctor's in Schenectady, Dan Nester's Frequency North series at St. Rose up the street -- we had a good crowd of poets to hear Andy Clausen, who had come all the way up from Woodstock for poetry on Central Ave. in Albany. In honor of Andy's presence I read one of Allen Ginsberg's masterpieces, "Sunflower Sutra," as our muse for the evening.
Alan Catlin was back in his #1 spot on the sign-up sheet with "War Reporters," an intense existential commentary, intensely read. Joe Krausman mixed up "poetic license" with a radio operator's license in an old poem "Amateur Radio Operator."
Andy Clausen always gives a good reading, even when he is "just" one of the open mic poets so I knew it would be a good idea for him to be the featured poet here. If you don't know his work, his latest book Home of the Blues: More Selected Poems (Museum of American Poetics Publications, Boulder, CO, 2013) is a good place to start. He began with "a little story" of his life moving to the East coast, & leaving his latest poems home tonight, then a silk-smooth segue into "Enough About Me" being old, being himself. On into the poem "Seeking A Fool Proof Riff…" about all -- life, poets -- that has inspired him "to sign the open poetry list." "Idiot" another self-portrait mixed with metaphysical commentary, this with irony as well. "Ramona," a poem he said he hasn't read in a while, is a narrative of the birth of his daughter at home, back in Oregon in 1970. I had first encountered Andy's work in a CD-magazine from the 1990's, We Magazine, blown away by the performance of "Gokyo Lake Breaking Up In The Sun" so I asked Andy to indulge me & read it tonight, ending his set with this musical, ecstatic rant -- ah!
After a break we were back to finish off the open mic, & I read a new poem, inspired by emails with Charlie Rossiter, "12-Round Magazine." Mike Conner read another of his seasonal poems, "Autumnal Port."
We are here each third Thursday of the month for a featured poet & an open mic & your donations pay the poet & support the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, 7:30PM.