March 3, 2014

Poets Speak Loud!, February 24

Our monthly gathering at McGeary’s, with Mary Panza, for poetry, food, drinks & the friendly service of Tess Collins’ staff, especially our back-room waitress sweet Melissa.

The night’s featured poet, Melody Davis, read first before the open mic from her new book Holding the Curve (Broadstone Books), beginning with a couple odes, “Socks” & “Ode to Crime TV” (watching CSI with her daughter). Then a poem about her grandmother, “The Tao of Cutting Potatoes,” the tender “Why I Teach Children Poetry,” listing her students names & attributes, & a poem about her son, “Little Big Fat Liar.” The title poem, “Holding the Curve,” also mentioned her son, & driving & the trajectory of our lives, while “Screwed” was about getting the radio stolen out of her car in Brooklyn. A poem about another place she has lived, in rural Pennsylvania, was “Ridge and Valley Province.” Her dramatic monologue, “Sampson,” is written in the form of a villanelle, while among the “Three Variations on Buffalo Mountain” was seeing the sweep of weather as a woman’s hair across her lover’s body, & her last poem “Sermons” was about remembering the light, not the words, in church. It was a nicely done set of discursive poems, often with a barely visible narrative thread.

On to the open mic, with Jill Crammond signed up first, & a poem written today, about watching crime TV with her son, “Poem in Which I Play Abducted Girl #1,” then a poem about Winter, “Poem in Which the Pot & the Kettle Make Merry.” If the blond is here, can the red-head be far behind? Of course not! So up next was Carolee Bennett with 2 “comfort poems,” the first about sunshine & motherhood & remembering days at the lake, then a poem that includes her son’s broken arm, “Exactly 299,792,458 Meters Per Second” (i.e., the speed of light). Alan Casline had a new poem written today, “A Day of Thaw,” that included a conversation recently at the Social Justice Center, Bernadette Mayer, & killer icicles.

Obeeduid began with a long piece on the JFK assassination, then a piece on scribbling “Botany 101,” both read in the light of his tablet, & mercifully (he had already been up there a long time) decided not to read a 3rd piece. I was next with 2 recent pieces, “Peacocks in the Driveway,” inspired by a quote from The Nation magazine columnist Patricia J. Williams, then my annual exercise, “Birthday 2014.” Surprise, surprise, Tess Lecuyer read a couple of sonnets, “Love Sonnet to February” & an old sonnet for Romance novels complete with page references. Adam Tedesco first titillated us with a sex poem, “Super Knot,” then scared us to death with “The DARPA Dogs” about being pursued by robotic dogs from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. What a thought to go home with!

But we’ll be back — the last Monday of the month, 7:30PM at McGeary’s on Clinton Square, Albany, NY, sponsored by See you then.

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