February 3, 2014

Yes! Poetry & Performance Series, January 31

In response to folks who characterize these posts as "reviews" I like to say, instead, that they are "reports," because I am often a participant in the events, such as the open mics, & I make no attempt to be objective. This night I was one of the featured poets at the Albany Center Galleries in the Yes! Poetry & Performance Series -- of course, I was great! But then so were Marilyn McCabe & Aaron Wittman, as well as our MC/hosts Matthew Klane & James Belflower.

Marilyn McCabe began with a showing of her poetry video "At Freeman's Farm," which includes her reading of the poem by the same title from her book Perpetual Motion (The Word Works, 2012) with images from the Saratoga Battlefield, & voice-over of interviews with military veterans of Viet Nam, Korea & Iraq. After some discussion about the making of the video, she read "Enemy's the Friend" also from her book, then a poem from a new manuscript, a poem about voting "We the People." A poet I always enjoy hearing, & especially glad to be sharing the reading with her.

Matthew Klane introduced me with one of his signature poem-intros, then I read a series of my more "experimental poems." Some were what some poets describe as "text jams:" such as "Une Fleur de Millay," "Secrecy Guards Oldest Pine …" (a blending of 2 newspaper articles), & a "jam" of 2 of William Carlos Williams' famous poems. Other experiments included versions of my poem "Kandinsky's Red Spot" & its translation into Russian by Inna Erlich run through the Google translator & then re-written; "October Land" (a pastiche of Eliot's "The Waste Land"); & "Saturday Hawk" a jazz poem." It was great fun.

& how sweet to be treated to a glass of English Porter & a brief description of how & what we were tasting, a short presentation by Aaron Wittman, the president of Albany Brew Crafters. Beer & poetry, sounds like heaven in the Albany Center Galleries.

The series continues into the Spring. To find out what's next you can "like" them on Facebook.

Here is Matthew Klane's poem-intro for me:
we applaud
some wisdom
found on the ground
@ the bus stop
when our thinking
has finally
in the park
@ the counter
on the phone
of the body
a language
we can all understand]

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